About Suriya

Suriya is a collective of women activists and feminists working to promote women’s rights in the Batticaloa District in Eastern Sri Lanka since 1993.

Suriya currently acts as a voice of and for women living in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka and plays an active role in bringing to the forefront the perspectives of all women.  Suriya is committed to working with and for women from Tamil and Muslim communities through gender empowerment, development and cultural programs.  Together, we aim to create an equitable and peaceful society free of discrimination against women. Suriya’s vision is to “build a society which is non-discriminatory, free of violence and respects and treats women with equality and dignity” and our mission is to “create an equitable and peaceful society free of discrimination against women”



Penkal Seyithi Madal 14.1 2012
Suriya Women’s Development Centre

Women are soft……because of that they cant do all work.

This is a deeply engrained concept in our society. She is a model to change this concept. Through this change she wants to bring about a new world for women. Society thinks women want only to run a shop, or to do beautifying intricate work. But this woman from Manjanthoduwai has broken the shackles of these traditional ideas and she is doing construction work. Yogarani is a mason. She joined the technical college in 1993 to train on building and construction work. Her family was against this. Society teased her. She lived through all this. Once she finished her one year course she also went for practical training. Five women joined the course but only she is now working as a mason. Other women dropped out due to teasing. A woman who is challenging society – this is Jogarani.

In 1996, she became a teacher for WUSC. During this time she faced a lot of resistance from society. She worked for 10 years as a teacher for WUSC. She also constructed toilets and small buildings. She is now 38 years old and she is supported by her husband. She is now a trainer for YMCA, VTA and WUSC.  She is now supporting a lot of women to come forward in this field. I want to further develop myself and also encourage more women to take a lead in construction work. She has trained a lot of widows. Women are making concrete posts and pots for their income. She is a model for other women, as an example that women can do anything.