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Immigrant from Sri Lanka struggles for American dream

By Shelley Smithson/When Yamani Wijesekara moved from Sri Lanka to Urbana one year ago, she believed she would find a good-paying job as a secretary or computer operator.

But life has not turned out the way she envisioned. Raised in a middle class family in Sri Lanka, Wijesekara, 29, was surprised when the only job she could find was a part-time position paying $8.45 an hour. She works an early-morning shift at Meijer and struggles to pay $400 a month for a rented room, buy food and save money for a car.

She prays everyday that her dreams will come true. If they do not, she says she will return to Sri Lanka.

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