Coping with little support: Batticaloa’s women ex-combatants and their reintegration

27 Apr, 2012 

The end of hostilities in May 2009 saw some 270,000 to 300,000 Tamils fleeing the conflict zone in the North and settling in camps for internally displaced people. Fleeing the fighting, together with the civilians, were thousands of Tamil Tiger combatants – many of them injured women fighters – both young women and more experienced middle-aged female fighters.

M10 – who lost her left leg in a 1995 battle in the Wanni region – surrendered herself at the Omantai military checkpoint in the closing days of the war after fleeing the heavy shelling on Puthikkudiyiruppu with civilians. There she was immediately taken to Pampaimadu Camp for interrogation by Sri Lankan army intelligence and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police force.  A year later, in late April 2010, M10 was released. Continue reading



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.

We’re the world, Sewa women sing at 40

AHMEDABAD: For war widows of northeast Sri Lanka – who have no family wealth or alternate source of income – the Self Employed Women’s Association (Sewa) training programme initiated by the Lankan government turned out to be a boon. These women beamed as they danced to their regional music as part of a programme to commemorate 40 years of Sewa, at the Mangaldas Town Hall on Wednesday. They are testimony to Sewa’s capacity to change lives.

“After losing everything, we were emotionallydisturbed and didn’t know how to overcome the trauma,” says Ragini Akhila who is in the city along with other members from the Sri Lanka Sabha – a sister organization of Sewa. “The financial burden of looking after the household added to the distress. But Sewa’s activities imbibed in us high confidence along with the power of self-reliance. Now I can fulfill my aim to ensure that my children receive good education.” Continue reading

Dambulla Mosque attack: Concerned citizens’ statement against religious intolerance

24 April 2012

It is with great concern that we the undersigned protest against the growing trend of increasing religious intolerance in Sri Lanka with regard to minority religions.

We specifically condemn the recent violent attack on the Mosque in Dambulla by a group of anti social actors. The Hindu community has also been asked to move their temple from the vicinity.

The Dambulla Khairya Jummah Mosque had been in existence for over 60 years[1]and the mosque trustees have legal documents regarding its construction. On Friday the 20th of April 2012 a tense situation arose as regular Friday prayer at the Mosque was prevented by a gang led by Buddhist monks who claimed that it was an illegal construction. The group stated that both the Mosque and Hindu shrine were built on sacred Buddhist ground. It is further regrettable that law enforcement authorities could not take appropriate action to stop the forceful entry into the mosque and the intimidation of the community. Continue reading

India to rehabilitate Tamil war widows

Chennai, April 22, 2012, DHNS:

Lankan Tamil leaders not for Tamil Eelam, says CPM

Beyond regional and linguistic barriers, a tender side to the rehabilitation process of the internally displaced people (IDP) in Sri Lanka has come to light, with Karnataka being among three Indian states to train a significant number of Tamil war widows in new job-skills.

Sri Lanka’s war against the separatist Tamil Tigers that ended three years ago had eventually caused “35,000 war widows”, mostly Tamils and concentrated now in the Island’s Eastern Batticaloa area. They are now the focus of a skills-training programme to help them eke out a decent living. Continue reading