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Sri Lanka: Pleasure of helping people help themselves

My visit to Jaffna one year since the conflict ended in Sri Lanka was interesting in many ways as there were so many positive stories from our project locations.

The families we have helped to resettle  in their own locations are doing well. Their incomes have become steady, profits have soared and, most importantly, their children are able to enjoy good meals and also go to school.

One man in particular really impressed me. Mohommed Riyaz (pictured) was displaced in 1990 when the LTTE ( rebel group) chased the Muslims out of the North.

He was able to return only in 2004 after the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement between the government of Sri Lanka and the rebels.

But rebuilding life with three children was difficult. For a few years he struggled as a daily paid labourer. Feeding his family was his only priority.

Last year, his family was selected for cash grant  for food security by Save the Children. He was provided Rs 5000 (45 US$) per month for food. To everybody’s surprise Riyaz has managed to  save some money from the cash grant and bought tools and machines for carpentry.

Today he is the owner of his own carpentry shop and, with people returning to Jaffna to resettle after the war, Riyaz has a lot of work in the pipeline. Doors and windows are in high demand and so are the cupboards, chairs and beds.

When I met him he was finishing a door. Covered in sawdust, Riyaz spent a little time talking to me about his success. It is such a bliss to help people who take initiative to help themselves.

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