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Women-led households struggle to survive in tumultuous Sri Lanka

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/14/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Collapse of infrastructure has left many Sri Lankan families floundering

In the Sri Lankan village of Valipunam, north of the nation's capital of Colombo, nearly 55,000 households headed by women in the country's former war zone are struggling to survive.

Despite these distressing figures, according to aid workers in the region, women who manage their families are among the most resistant in the former conflict area.

Despite these distressing figures, according to aid workers in the region, women who manage their families are among the most resistant in the former conflict area.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/14/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Sri Lanka, women, households, families, distress


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Fides news agency, the dirt roads here are impossible to cross, there are no lights, and telephone connections come and go. The nearest police station to the center of the Mullaitivu area was destroyed during the conflict - and is miles away.

The strongest men in Valipunam are afraid to live alone in their homes. Even worse, households headed by single mothers face difficulty in keeping their homes and dependent children in order. The northern province of the country, devastated by war, has between 40,000 and 50,000 female-headed households, according to humanitarian agencies in the region.

Get food into the hands of needy children -- by going here --

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees last year found that 40 percent of all the women here, including 467,000 returnees who were displaced during the last stages of the war, are still afraid to live in their homes. Twenty-five percent are afraid to venture out of their villages on their own.

At high cost here are the children's innocence. According to data provided by Durable Solutions Promotion Group, a coalition of organizations and international agencies of volunteers, the children of the 40,000 female-headed households are more vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Despite these distressing figures, according to aid workers in the region, women who manage their families are among the most resistant in the former conflict area.

"These women have a lot of fortitude," M S M Kamil, head of the economic security department at ICRC, says.

"I think what they have gone through in the past three decades - as individuals, as families, and as an entire community - has made them resilient. They feel that they can survive [and] take care of their families whatever the circumstances are," he added.

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