War brings with it death, disability, destruction, displacement, destitution and demoralization. After 30 years of civil war in Sri Lanka, all of these are prevalent. This is how one family has been hit.
Mrs. Somasiri, her husband and four children, relocated to Ampara from Annuradhapura five years ago, due to the war. They live in a clay hut with poor sanitation. Mrs Somasiri cultivates vegetables without irrigation and with minimum soil preparation; her husband is a farm labourer, but their monthly income is insufficient for their family’s needs. The eldest son, aged 15, is a Buddhist monk because in this way he can get food and lodging. The three youngest children should be at school, but their parents do not have enough money to provide for their education.
Chaminda, the second son, aged 12, cooks for the family and takes care of his younger sisters, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome and needs special attention all day. These three children, but particularly the youngest girl, are at risk of stigmatization, hazardous work, trafficking and prostitution. Their health could also be compromised because of poor nutrition and hygiene. Additionally, these children have been denied the right to education or to learn a trade.
However, this family’s needs were identified by a project leader working with APT’s partner organization. APT is going to help 4,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable young people by helping them to get training or their parents to earn enough income to feed and send them to school.
Mrs Somasiri says, ‘My husband works long hours as a farm labourer but together, our monthly income is not enough to survive.’
Posted by E Grisenthwaite 12th March 2014