OfERR Ceylon’s staff come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds with expertise in programme management and working at the grassroots. This was an asset in implementing a va¬riety of programmes ranging from civil and legal documentation, capacity building, women empowerment, education, linkage services, livelihood, advocacy and cross-cutting issues such as HIV, health, gender-based violence, child protection, the environment, peace and reconciliation.
OfERR (Ceylon) has 87 staff working in head office and five regional offices engaged in programme management, advocacy, administration and finance programs. The key members are:
Mr.S.C.Chandrahasan – Chief Functionary & Treasurer
S.C.Chandrahasan is the son of the iconic Tamil Politician S.J.V Chelvanayakam, (Popularly known as the Mahatma Gandhi of Sri Lanka and Father of the Tamils “Thanthai Chelva”) President of the Federal party (later renamed TULF and subsequently TNA). S.C.Chandrahasan is the Founder and Chief Functionary of OfERR. Hailing from an extremely privileged background as scion of one of Sri Lanka’s leading political families, and married to Dr.Nirmala Chandrahasan nee Naganathan, daughter of Federal Party Stalwart and Leader, Senator Dr.Elangai Murugesu Vijayaretnam Naganathan (M.P.).
S.C.Chandrahasan began his career as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. But his passion for the Tamil cause and its people lead him to embark into Politics by joining the TULF (Federal party) and becoming the legal Secretary to the TULF. Later as war replaced politics and violence replaced SJV Chelvanayakkam’s non violent struggle, He came to India and established OfERR in 1984. Though he lead a life of privilege far removed from the refugees he now works for and works with, S.C.Chandrahasan has donned his Fathers mantle, and now works tirelessly to serve his people by Humanitarianism and Peace building.
Sinnathamby Sooriyakumary – President, OfERR (Ceylon)
Ms.Sooriyakumary started her career as an assistant to Mr.S.C.Chandrahasan, who was at that time, a leading lawyer and Human Rights activist. Her work involved recording, compiling information on victims of 1977 State Sponsored Riots against ethnic minorities and assisted the teams of Lawyers who appeared on behalf of this victim before Sansoni Commission to claim compensation. At the same time, she worked to provide relief, rehabilitation, resettlement and protection of the displaced people. For having worked for the victims of emergency law and Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and displaced communities from Central Province, who were forced to flee in 1981 riots, she was also affected by the riots in 1983.
She fled Sri Lanka and took refugee in Tamil Nadu in 1983. She continued to voice the concerns of the 1983 riot victims. In 1984, she became one of the founding members of Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR) in India.
From 1987, she has been holding several managerial posts in the organization. She has been sitting as the Secretary for OfERR since 1992. She returned to the Island with the mandate given by the refugee women and established OfERR (Ceylon) in the island in 2004 and since then, she has been acting as the President of OfERR (Ceylon). During her service in the Island she has been contributing towards advocacy of human rights and provision of humanitarian aid in the areas such as protection and well being of the IDPs and returnees from India, advocating for child rights especially for IDP children from conscription by the armed groups, advocating for compensation, documentation of the IDPs who lost their properties and documents during the military offensive, etc. She has been playing major part in the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka and refugee returnees from India.