The villagers of Madukulam have learnt to survive in difficult conditions; they are very hard working and resilient. Rebuilding war shattered communitites is a key initiative of NCEASL. Madukulm village has very few resources. The main source of income and livelihood depends on agriculture. However, since Madukulum is located in the dry zone, the village faces a scarcity of water which affects the peoples’ livelihood in agriculture.
Even though the families strove to recommence their lives, the bread winners found it difficult to provide for the ever increasing needs of the family. Most often the income of one person was not adequate to purchase their bare needs. There was definitely a great opportunity to empower the women to contribute towards the family income as well. After many discussions with the village development committee, NCEASL’s Missions department facilitated a sewing class for women, empowering them with a livelihood they could conveniently carry out from home. The project was implemented in partnership with the NCEASL’s relief and development arm – the Alliance Development Trust.
The Missions department secured the services of Sunethra, an established seamstress, to teach the women the finer points of sewing. Sunthra herself is a beneficiary of NCEASL. She is a Sinhalese widow who runs her own sewing school in the Vavuniya town. When she was on the brink of poverty not knowing how to bring up her two children and whom to turn to after the death of her husband, NCEASL helped her to obtain a loan to restart her life. Sunethra willingly set aside 2 days of the week from her busy work schedule, to teach 20 women the aspects of sewing. She first taught them the basic stitches and then proceeded to teach block making and sewing saree jackets, house coats, nightwear, shalwar kameez, children’s clothes and baby clothes. It was a comprehensive course which lasted 3 months.
The Missions department provided 12 women who did not possess sewing machines with machines and the eight other beneficiaries received sewing kits which included cloth material, measuring tapes, scissors, thread, buttons, needles, etc. The women would look forward to the weekly classes because it helped to break the monotony of their daily lives which is traditionally filled with household chores and child rearing. It gave them an outlet to be creative and also an opportunity to be self sufficient in their own homes. At the end of the sewing course ADT provided them with a certificate of participation.
The Missions department helps vulnerable communities and empowers them with livelihood assistance. This enables communities with little or no access to basic needs to be uplifted from their present living standards of poverty. Madukulum is a small village in Vavuniya with 52 resettled families. As a result of the ethnic war the villagers in Madukulam had to move out of their village. However, after the war was over the people came back to their own village to start their lives again.
”I am very happy that I could follow this course. I have a disability in one of my hands which was caused by the war. Ever since my injury, I have been depressed because there was not much I could do as a livelihood. But now I am thrilled because I can use the machine and actually sew even with my disability. I have gained a lot of confidence because this course has enabled me to develop my own livelihood. I also feel very proud when I wear clothes sewn by myself” commented Shanthi, one of the beneficiaries of this sewing class.