Sonali Silva

Activist and Social Media Influencer, Sri Lanka

As well as being a SheDecides 25x25 young leader, Sonali is a global SheDecides Champion.

While working as a communications consultant with WHO Country office Sri Lanka and WHO Centre for Health Development in Kobe, Japan Sonali founded the Sri Lanka Safe Abortion Network, and helps lead the SheDecides movement in Sri Lanka. She uses her skills in behaviour change communications and her social media presence to advocate for gender, equity and rights.

Sonali’s areas of interest include abortion rights, CSE, sexual harassment, psychosocial support for vulnerable populations and breaking the stigma around the PLHIV, FSW, and substance user communities. In the past she worked as part of the People Living with HIV programme in Sri Lanka which encourages people to get tested for HIV.

Sonali also founded the initiative "People Like Us" in 2019 which aims to provide mental health support for vulnerable groups including men who have sex with men, transgender and people living with HIV.

"I don't represent an organization or a country. I represent an issue. Being a part of the SheDecides 25x25 proved to me that the issues we face as women or members of the LGBTQ+ community in Sri Lanka are not unique to Sri Lanka. It's the same narrative everywhere in the world, decisions about us being made without us. When you face sexual harassment, or the consequences of not having access to safe abortions, or the patriarchy at school, at work, in the political system, in the justice system, with law enforcement and subordination at home, you will know the problem and you should be heard in order to find a solution. I don’t believe in speaking for the voiceless, just pass the mic. As a 25x25, I’ve learned prevalence shouldn’t be the way we prioritise which areas to address and provide solutions for. There is no metric to measure suffering. It matters, it is prevalent to the person in pain and that should be enough to tell us things need to change."