YOUR September peace mail from Sri Lanka
My name is Rashan. In 1990, I went to India with my wife and daughter and we lived in a refugee camp for 27 years. At the time, because of the civil war at home, we just had to leave Sri Lanka for safety. It was not as if we had planned to go to India to live.
Richard Wainwright/Act for Peace
While they took care of us in the camp in India we wanted to get back to our motherland, our soil, and work to earn a living.
OfERR has done a lot. In India they helped my daughter with books and schooling. They also told us that if we decided to go back to our country then they would make arrangements. We decided to return with their help and took a flight home. When the plane started descending to Colombo, we were filled with happiness.
When we returned to our land in Sri Lanka it was overgrown but each time I cut plants to clear land for our farm, I was feeling so happy. I didn’t have to ask anyone for their permission here. This is my land.
Despite all the anxiety, fear for our loved ones with the coronavirus and the uncertainty of where things were heading at the time, we now can look back and thank God that things have passed – even if only partially.
The main problem in our village here is water scarcity. To get water for our house I would have to fetch water, carrying the pots on my shoulders. I could carry three pots of water at a time and each day I would fetch about 60 pots of water. At night when resting I suffered from severe feet and arm pain.
OfERR saw what it took to get water each day and they said they would help me with a well. The assistance OfERR has given me is priceless; I can never forget this help.
From the day we installed the bore well and got water from it, our lives changed. Instead of taking much of the day fetching water, we just did our own farm work. The farm now provides enough that we don’t have to go and work for someone else. We were also able to eat well. I have started planting pumpkin, tomatoes, brinjal, bitter gourds and plenty of other crops.
If we had stayed back in India in the refugee camp, we wouldn’t have found this kind of life. When we lived there, we were dependent on Government relief funds for food. Here, it’s not like that – we have our land, our farm and we can sell and eat our crops.
I want to say a big thanks and extend my heartfelt gratitude. The assistance we got can truly not be expressed in words.
Download this Peace Mail in pdf
The civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009. Today, there are more than 60,000 Sri Lankan refugees in India. Now many of them wish to return to their homeland to live in peace and freedom, and help rebuild their nation.
Returning refugees are determined to resume their lives and a future for their children but they face huge challenges. They arrive home with few belongings, and struggle to find work, housing and psycho-social care, or access health and education. Act for Peace’s local partner the Organisation for Eelam Refugees’ Rehabilitation (OfERR), with your support, is helping returnees re-establish their lives by providing livelihood assistance.
Through training sessions and material support, OfERR helps returnees establish sustainable livelihoods which provides them with a regular income. OfERR has also set up Welcome Groups which provide support to new families by enabling them to build connections and share knowledge.
• Please pray for guidance for refugees as they make the decisions for their return home.
• Please pray for more livelihood opportunities for the families who choose to return to Sri Lanka.
• Give thanks that it is now safe enough for refugees to return home.
More ways to take action
Remember someone in need through the Christmas Bowl.
By giving a monthly gift, you can help bring safety, justice and dignity to people around the world who have fled from conflict and natural disasters.
Give a gift that will make a lasting difference.