A group of six secondary survivors, three Sinhalese and three Tamils found their way out to Valaipadu a village of 3 1/2 k.m. in the Kilinochchi District for Trauma Support: a relationship for connection and mutual understanding with the women headed families’ (widows ) of the village. Valaipadu is a fishing village. Its name derived from “fishing in a big scale by laying nets”. There are 300 catholic families in the village. In the resettlement process the villagers are back in their original village. As far as the historical evidence shows there had been 15 families originally occupied, having their livelihood based on fishing
The survivor group had a prior training in forming relationships of empathy, sharing their strengths, listening actively to their stories for trauma support, thereby promote healing and growth by building relationships among a two ethnic communities of equals.
In listening to their trauma stories, some of the women were unable to move beyond endless repetitions, Recounting details of what happened to them and reliving the feelings they experienced during traumatic events. From 1993 with the war for over 25 years, the war caused significant hardships for the population, environment and the economy of the people. They had gone from place to place as the different phases of the war broke out. They have lost many of their family members when they were moving from one place to another. The fact that the women headed families find difficult to cope up is that many of their husbands have been killed when they went to find some food for their children.
A young woman of 23 years still in tears
when she relates the story
Of many losses she faced during the
different phases of war.
She found by the end of the war in 2005
She has lost her father, mother, husband,
And now she is the bread winner of her son
And all the siblings of the family
There is other “Women empowerment” stories that revels the miraculous power of the coping mechanism of the women.
I am Arulanandam J. Rani, 34 years old. My husband was killed by the Navy when he went for fishing. Two of his friends who went with him saved their lives by drowning themselves in the sea. They say the dead body of my husband may have been thrown into the sea. I never saw his body.
My mother and father are with me. I have 5 children. At the time of his loss my youngest baby was only nine months, my elder son 13 year old was hurt by a shell fallen on his body, the other boy been unable to face the existing trauma is dumb even to this day.
My husband was the breadwinner of the family. When I heard of his loss I did not know what to do? How can I feed eight people in my home? I was a poor illiterate housewife. I had not learnt any skill to earn a living.
“I must do something to feed my family”. This kept on coming to my mind. Being a catholic I prayed daily. Then it so happened I was able to get a sewing machine to pay in installments, with courage I learnt to sew and I earn my living by sewing. I am happy I succeeded. I also have put up a small boutique. Myself being illiterate my only desire is to give a good education to my children.
It is very encouraging to see almost all the children of the village going to the school. The principal and some of the staff members come from Jaffna. People are encouraged by the closeness of the staff to their lives with their visit to the families and having a close contact with the problems of the children.
Spirituality is most likely an important element for their recovery. They gather together around the church for connection and mutual support. For Women headed families connection and support of the church keep them on the move.
“The most common way people give up their power is by
thinking they do not have any”
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
@ 2019 All Rights Received