My children’s safety is ensured

The uncertainties caused by war forced Visuvanathan Vijayakanth and his family to flee his native village Alavatti in Jaffna district. After experiencing multiple displacements internally, he along with his wife and daughter left the country by flight and sought asylum in India on 24th April 2008. During their life in India, his wife gave birth to two sons namely Kajin and Kishore. Vijayakanth did vegetable business in Chennai to take care of family’s livelihood.

Having had the wish to return to his motherland, Vijayakanth approached OfERR in Chennai, to get support for his return to Sri Lanka. Since the family had not registered and overstayed in India, the family experienced a major hurdle to pay heavy some penalty. As per the immigration rules, he had to pay nearly INR.100,000/- for his entire family. With this difficulty, his family was expected to go into prison for violation of immigration rules with overstay.

Hence, OfERR has provided support with taking him to Commissionerate of Rehabilitation and Department of Immigration, Chennai and lobbied for waiver of penalty for their overstay. After several efforts made through meetings and submission of letters with the state and central government for nearly a year, Vijayakanth was ultimately considered for overstay penalty waiver. Further, he was assisted to enroll his family in the UNHCR supported Voluntary Repatriation programme.

On 14th June 2016, he had come back to Sri Lanka. He doesn’t have land or house of his own to reside after returning to Sri Lanka. After return, his three children were assisted by OfERR (Ceylon) to enroll in 7th, 5th and 2nd standards respectively. Vijayakanth is doing masonry and painting work for his family’s survival.

He lives with his family in a rental house, which he had got for low cost. The house is in a dilapidated condition and they find extreme difficulties with water leakage and flooding during rainy seasons. At this time, his elder daughter attained puberty and thereafter, he found that it was very risky to live there with his children. Particularly, he had concerns about the safety and security of her adolescent daughter.

With the savings and support from relatives, he was able to purchase 450 square meter land. However, he continued to live in his rental house as he didn’t have the means to construct temporary shelter. At this situation, he who believed in his own self, has come to OfERR (Ceylon) requesting support for temporary shelter.

Understanding his situation with lots of safety and security concerns, OfERR (Ceylon) has coordinated with the Divisional Secretary and Grama Sevaka and verified the support with reintegration received by him from Sri Lankan government. Thereafter, he was provided support with temporary shelter, which he is constructing now.

Vijayakanth said, “I am so thankful to OfERR and OfERR (Ceylon). They are with me for more than three years and guiding, accompanying and supporting with whatever my family needs. After return, OfERR (Ceylon) assisted us with temporary shelter and essential documentation. With this support, you have ensured my family’s safety and security, particularly my children’s. This will also pave new dawn to our children.”

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