Mr. Soosaipillai Thommaipillai is 50 years old and lives in Eluvaithevu, Jaffna district. He is married, a fisherman and the father of six children. Following is the experience he shared with OfERR Ceylon during a recent interview “I fled to India with my family in September 1990 and lived in the Kotatapaddu refugee camp. I looked after my family with the income I got as a daily labourer which was really not sufficient. In India we had our two sons, Patrick Vimalraj and Thamilraj.
With the help of the UNHCR we returned to Eluvaithevu, a tiny island off the Jaffna peninsula, by boat in October 1992. I started fishing for our livelihood at that time. We had 2¼ Lms of land but there was no house. We set up a basic shelter to live in. A local NGO provided us with a shelter worth Rs.28,000 in 2005.
Our eldest son completed his schooling up to grade 9. He began to help me with my fishing. My second son Thamilraj studied up to O levels. Due to our family economic situation we sent him to Saudi Arabia to work. Our daughters have finished their studies up to O/L and are getting trained in the Palmyra industry under the UNDP program. Our youngest daughter is still studying.
My family is large and therefore my earning is barely sufficient to meet our living needs.
Happily OfERR Ceylon came forward to supply me with fishing gear and I am now in a position to fish on my own and improve our family income and living standard. I am extremely grateful to OfERR (Ceylon) for their help.”