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I’m telling my students a story.

I’m telling my students a story about a brave woman.

I tell them that the woman is strong, and has beautiful children (like all of you, I point to my students) and a nice husband, and her life is good. She is happy.

But then one day the gods struck the woman down. Her husband went away. And a sickness grew inside her. It made the strong woman weak.

I tell my students that the woman was very sad. She was in the depths of despair, fallen to the ground. She could have died.

And then (listen closely, I tell my students, this is the important part) the woman got up. She decided she did not want to die. She hated lying on the ground. It was useless. So, she lifted her head and looked around her, and saw the beauty of the world, more brilliant than ever.

What happened to the sickness, my students are asking. Oh well, I tell them it was still in the brave woman. But she did not care. When she cared, the sickness made her weak. So she ignored the sickness. She lived her life the way she always had, loving her children. And she grew stronger. The sickness tried and tried to bring her down, but she never let it. She fought it with all her might, and she never fell again.

I am telling my students a story about a brave woman.

I am telling my students a story about me.

Padmini (61 years) was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. She was a pre-school teacher in Nuwara Eliya until she was too ill to continue. Padmini says her parents made a lot of sacrifices for her education. By becoming a teacher, she feels she is giving back to them the precious gift they gave her. Teaching is her passion and today, Padmini hopes to be employed at day care centre that she might continue to give back to her parents and Sri Lanka’s next generation.

Profiles of Courage