Mrs.Raveendran Mery Konsabeth is 48 yrs and lives in Allaippiddy on Velanai Island (off the coast of the Jaffna peninsula).She is married with three children and makes a living through candle production. She shares her life experience with us.
“In 1990 we were displaced due to the war. My mother sent me to India with my sister’s family for safety reasons. I stayed at the Viruthachalam Refugee Camp where I had the opportunity of working with OfERR INDIA as a health worker from 1991 to 1995.When we returned to Sri Lanka in 1995 we were assigned to the Vavuniya refugee camp. Raveendran, who I later married, was also living in the same camp. We now have three children. Initially we were able to manage financially but later, when the children started growing up, it was difficult for us to meet our daily expenses. My husband went to Doha for employment as a minor worker. In 2006 hostilities began again and we once again had to flee to India. We stayed in the Valaja Camp which was located in the Vellore district.
My husband did not accompany us as he was still working in Doha. He tried to move to another country but he was not successful. We eventually lost touch with him but with the help of UNHCR we were able to track him down. During this period I was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery.
In the refugee camp I learnt how to make candles and sandal sticks. We came back to Sri Lanka to live on our won soil and I started making candles to earn extra income which I could put toward my children’s needs.
My house was old and unlivable in the rainy reason. OfERR Ceylon came to our rescue and repaired the shelter. They also agreed to provide me with new moulds for making larger quantities of candles to enhance our livelihood. I am living a better life now and am very grateful to OfERR for all their help.