Fighting for a better life after the dust of a conflict settles in

Posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2015

By Azaria Soundaraj from Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka.

02/04/2015 – Jaffna, Sri Lanka: Close to the Jaffna lagoon lays the Eluthumadduval village, which is home to Ratnaruby Vigneswari, and her three children.  Despite being over 50 in age, she is very determined to ensure that her family has a better future.

Her story begins in 1993. Due to the conflict she and her family lost everything and was displaced. She also lost her husband who was a social worker.

Ratnaruby had to engage in labor work for the survival of her family. She spent 16 years as a displaced person living in various places with many difficulties until her return to her own plot of land in 2011. When she returned it was just a plot of land, nothing has left. Everything was perished, her house, property and all other belongings. Ratnaruby had to start her life from scratch. She received a temporary shelter from a nongovernmental organization paving the way to live in her own plot of land.

Ratnaruby is one of the beneficiaries selected under the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme aimed at supporting the people who are now rebuilding their lives after the conflict. This project is also supported by the Government of India. She now lives with her 23 year old daughter and her two sons age 20 and 18.

“Despite the issues she faced, Ratnaruby has managed to build her house by herself. Our programme is designed to ensure that people like this gets the maximum support needed so they can nestle back to normalcy and to live their lives in dignity” said Mr. Mayurathan Red Cross Field Engineer in Eluthumadduval.

The Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme provides cash grants in several stages to people who are returning to their homeland after the conflict. The Programme is aimed at ensuring that the most vulnerable people are given another chance to rebuild their lives. The Red Cross only provides the funds and the technical support in order to build the house. The beneficiaries on the other hand needs to find the manual labor support in building the house. Despite being in a woman headed house Ratnaruby managed to gather the support of people in her village so that she could complete the work at the given timeframe.

“Each and every morning I was always thinking about of my life and my children future as how am I going to build a house and live a good life following these 16 years of displacement. As an answer to this question, I was finally selected as one of the beneficiaries under Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme and provided me with financial & moral support to build my house, which I believe a turning point in my life”. Says Ratnaruby

At present Ratnaruby makes her living as a casual laborer and earns around 700 rupees a day.

Besides that, selling coconuts, poultry, and vegetable cultivation are additional source for income as well.
Ratnaruby’s Daughter completed her advanced Level and teaches in the nearest school and wants to be a Counselor in future.  The youngest son has completed his Advanced Level and engages in vegetable cultivation at present

If you want to know about the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme please visit our special programme page