Ranjun Arun is from Jaffna and his wife from Mullaitivu. They both fled to India in 1990 and married there. His father had a fishing trawler in Jaffna before the war. Ranjun and his wife and two children returned from India in 2011 to claim land that his father had promised him. OfERR helped Ranjun build a new home and also provided him with livelihood inputs – three goats (to act as insurance should other projects fail) and broiler chickens which his wife sells from their nearby shop.
Like other returnees in the area, Ranjun began to prepare for paddy cultivation on his land but was forced to abandon paddy farming due to lack of rain. The Northern Province of Sri Lanka has been suffering from severe drought this year. This has forced many farmers to turn to other crops, mainly vegetables, which require less rain.
Undaunted by a challenging climate, Ranjun has turned to other income-generating activities. He plans to expand his chicken business from 100 to 200 chickens and become a middleman trader in fish. Ranjun has fresh fish brought in on a daily basis from Mannar, a fishing port on the west coast, and then sells the fish to his neighbours from the back of his bicycle.
Ranjun explained that when they returned in 2011, there were no jobs and it was a problem providing three meals a day to their kids. “Now I have the ability to buy things for my children – I can buy whatever I want.” he says proudly.