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YOUR JUNE peace mail from India

Dear Friends,

My name is Aahesha*, we're from Magarkovil in Sri Lanka. I came to India as a very small child with my parents when we fled the civil war. We have been in the refugee camps here since 1990. I am married and have a 4-year old son, Ashvin*.

Ben Littlejohn/Act for Peace Image Frame

Ashvin was a normal weight when he was born and grew as expected for the first few months. However, when he was 6 months old he started suffering from frequent diarrhoea, vomiting and a fever. He always seemed to have a cold. He lost so much of his bodyweight that he quickly became underweight and small for his age.

As refugees in India, I try to make sure that my family eats properly. We have vegetables every day and twice a week we will either eat fish or chicken. I give my children a boiled egg for breakfast, and we all eat fruits. We tried our best to feed our son but he wouldn't eat because he wasn't feeling well.

Like any family, when our child is sick the whole family is worried. When Ashvin is unwell he is crying and stays in bed a lot. When he is well he goes to nursery school and plays with his friends. He is happy and polite to grown-ups. 

Thanks to your generous support, Act for Peace's partner, OfERR (the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation), visits our camp for regular medical days. This is when we can see medical staffabout illnesses and concerns. The last time we had a medical day here, I took Ashvin to see them as he had been ill and losing weight. We met with OfERR District Health Worker, Krishnaveni. After checking my son for his illness, she referred him to Dharmapuri Hospital where they treated him with a special diet which stoped the diarrhoea. He started gaining weight and was fully recovered after a few weeks.

Without OfERR's medical days and care for us, I wouldn't have known what to do for him. Their staff ask what is wrong and they have medicines. And if ehat they have isn't what is needed for your children, OfERR can put you into the government hospital to care for them -just like Ashvin.

I have hope for my son's future - that he will be good at school and learn English. We will support him with whatever he wishes to study. We are very thankful to the people in Australia who have helped us so far.


*Ashvin and Aahesha's names have been changed to protect their identities as refugees.

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There are currently over 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees in India. 60,000 of these refugees live in camps across Tamil Nadu and thanks to your kind gifts they are able to benefit daily from our partner OfERR's work there. This includes health care, education, employment training, child protection, counselling, safety from gender-based violence and support for a safe return back to Sri Lanka.

As you have read in the letter, your kind ongoing gifts help OfERR train healthcare workers to screen and treat refugees. You also help provide financial assistance for patients in need of urgent hospital care, and deliver a wide range of health education workshops to help prevent further illnesses. The OfERR health program focuses on the most vulnerable groups, such as children like Ashvin, pregnant women and people living with a disability.

OfERR health workers organise medical clinic days in the camps. In the last few years, this has benfited more than 46,000 refugees through early identification of diseases. In addtion to this, OfERR's health workers conduct awareness drives about HIV, blood donation, diet, exercise and dengue fever. OfERR also conducts screenings for diabetes, kidney problems, eye and dental issues.

OFERR's vision is to empower every refugee through education and opportunities, and provide them with the support needed to make an informed decision about volutary return to Sri Lanka, so that they can be ambassadors of peace, justice, equity and sustainable development.

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Thank you for your generous, ongoing support this financial year.  Your gifts have made a lasting difference in the lives of so many around the globe who are suffering from conflict and disaster.  Your End of financial year receipt will be posted to you in July.  Thank you again for faithfully supporting our work at Act for Peace -we couldn’t do it without you!

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