Ensuring of food security in families affected by the economic downturn through the multipurpose cash assistance programme
By Nilani Philomina, Community Mobiliser of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s Nuwara-Eliya Branch
“The first thing I did with the money was go to the market and buy everything I would need to feed my children for the next two months.” This is the only way I could support them, and I hope to keep doing so until things get better’’, says Sudhashini.
At Rappanock Estate in Udapussallawa, Sivapalan Sudhashini, 38, is a mother of four children who resides in a small hut. There are numerous residents there, including her. Her spouse, Peramaiah Ravichandran, works daily in the tea garden and provides the family’s primary source of income.
Her spouse does not work every day and makes LKR 1,200 per day. He used to work four or five days a week prior to COVID-19 and the economic downturn, and even then, she went with her husband to pick tea leaves, earn money together, and provide for the family. Their monthly income was approximately LKR 25,000 (CHF 110) on average, and she was able to adequately support her family, which included her children and their education.
She was unable to work alongside her husband in the tea garden or in other manual labour-intensive jobs because of COVID-19 and the economic downturn, as there was insufficient opportunity. Her husband, on the other hand, worked for the tea garden three days a week at the same wage. Their monthly income has decreased to LKR 15,000 (CHF 38 now due to the economic crisis, which should have been around 66 CHF as per previous rates) as a result of the fewer working days.
The price of food and other commodities increased by more than 300% as a result of the economic crisis; as a result, Sudhashini found it extremely difficult to make ends meet and secure their children’s education with the LKR 15,000. Given Sudhashini’s vulnerability, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) chose her family to be one of the recipients of multipurpose cash assistance, and in March 2023, SLRCS gave her LKR 20,000.