Dharmapriya Wesumperuma (PhD London) is the Regional Head of Programmes, East Asia/Pacific, HelpAge International. Previously Wesum was the Director of the Asia Training Centre on Ageing (ATCOA) of HelpAge International from 1997 to 2002. A former university academic (1965-1977) from Sri Lanka, he was the Executive Director of the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (1978-1995) in Colombo before joining HelpAge.
As the Regional Head of Programmes for HelpAge, Wesum leads and provides strategic guidance to a team of four professionals (Regional Programme Managers) who focus on development and implementation of programmes on ageing in East Asia and the Pacific, currently with projects in China, Vietnam, Cambodia Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. Wesum is a key member of the HelpAge team in developing regional strategies on ageing relating to health, income security and social pensions as well as social inclusion of older persons through building capacity of older people's associations.
Wesum is also directly engaged in developing the HelpAge Asia Pacific Network comprising affiliates and partners from 18 countries in the region. Wesum led the recent HelpAge Asia Pacific Regional Conference held in Melbourne in collaboration with the Council on the Ageing, Victoria (COTA, Vic,) from 1 - 3 May 2010 attended by 70 participants from 21 countries including new partners from three Pacific Island Countries. Wesum was an active contributor to the 10th Global Conference of the International Federation on Ageing, 4 - 6 May, Melbourne, including as a speaker at the UNFPA Symposium on 'Towards a Global Capacity Building Plan for an Ageing World'. He was an invited Roundtable speaker at the UN DPI/NGO Global Conference on 'Advance Global Health: Achieve the MDGs', 30 August - 1 Sept, Melbourne, Australia.
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University of London: Ph.D., Economics
Thesis: Indian immigrant plantation workers in Sri Lanka : a historical perspective, 1880-1910
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The old-age allowance system in Thailand is a non-contributory social protection scheme which aims to guarantee basic income for the Thai population at the age of 60 or above. Up until 2009 such a scheme targeted the underprivileged elderly people of society, defined as those of at least 60 years of age: without enough income to meet necessary expenses; or who are unable to work; or who have been abandoned; or who are without a caregiver of any kind.
The Old-age Allowance Programme of Bangladesh was introduced in 1998 to provide a means-tested monthly cash payment to older people to help reduce their vulnerabilities and income insecurity.