The survivor group of 06 member Sinhala and Tamil women headed families, left for war-torn North on the 18th of April 2013 in search of women headed families in the Mannar and Kilinochchi districts.
In their search, the survivor group of the Human Rights Office Kandy had the fortune of meeting 20 “Women headed Families” in the Thevanpitty resettlement area in the Mannar District and 30 “women headed Families” (in MulankavilIranamathanagar) in the Kilinochchi district.
Since last year a group of survivors from Kandy attend an outreach program in a war-torn area in the North of Sri Lanka for “an emotional sharing “with the wider community. Outreach programs are social instruments of healing. As the mirror would say “I find in you my pain and joy and you find in me your pain and joy.” A listening ear with compassion enhances self-healing of the traumatized person.
For nearly three decades, Sri Lanka was scarred by a bitter civil war driven by ethnic tension for many years. Much of the Mannar District was under the control of the rebellious Liberation tigers of Tamil Ealam.
The fact finding report by the association for women’s Rights in Development in Canada of June 29, 2011 records that in 2009 war alone has rendered 40000 women as homeless, landless widowed.” Widowhood is a global issue. All over the world the widows go through more or less the same pain in their struggle to survive.
As one widow righty says, ‘I feel restless to the very core. I feel like everyone else’s life is moving, and I stay in the same place. Like I’m running on a treadmill as fast as I can, and everyone else is jogging past me on solid ground, waving. Some of them are cheerfully enjoying the exercise, others are complaining about how tired they are, but their lives are still moving past mine while I struggle and sprint and still stay in one place.’
There is a formal structure in these villages. Civil coordination, protection and security of the village are under 02 Army personnel. The village headman or “G.S is in charge of the administration and the coordination with the funding agencies.
The widows welcomed the survivor group to their homes. It was a friendly encounter at their homes as they happily displayed their achievements since the time of the resettlement.
As a result of the war the people at Thevanpitty and Mulankavil dispersed, disappeared and were killed. When they returned in 2010 after the war, they found themselves alone with their children without the head of their families. It was a severe traumatic period for the women folk. They felt insecure without the powerful hands of their husbands to protect them, earn for them and be a support to the family. Zoa, a Netherland funding agency has contributed to the material and financial sustenance of the women headed families.
As Richard F. Mollica in his “Healing Invisible wounds “says, the “powerless” and “unworthy” survivor no matter how deep his or her humiliation, is able to share something, even if it seems small with another. Through this sharing the survivor has a powerful, positive impact on someone else’s life. The essence is “I heal you and by doing so heal myself”. Those who engage in outreach programs whether they realize it or not, are on the road to self-healing. They gain greater spiritual benefit. According to Lord Buddha such an action gives “One more merit than holding religious ceremonies in a hundred temples.
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Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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