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06/15/2017

Life after being a refugee

There are many mines left from the civil war in Muhamalai, northern Sri Lanka.
NGOs which specialize in the removal of these mines, are participating in operation “Mine Free Sri Lanka”, a United Nations initiative to remove all mines in Sri Lanka by 2020.

However, it is very time consuming and very dangerous work. Very recently, the JEN team visited Vembodukerny which has been cleared of mines.  Simple shelters have been built on the sandy treeless flatland.

Most of families who came back to the area live in poverty having lost everything in the
civil war. For the last 10 years they have lived as refugees so making a living for themselves and their families is difficult. 

The Sri Lankan Government provides wells for everyone to use, and gives monthly 5000 rupees (about USD 60) as funding to each family and food (about USD 22 each person) to resettle.
With the support of NGOs, people need to fence in farm land, dig wells and build simple shelters. It is very hard to find work and live in an environment where the future is so uncertain.

In addition, there are places where mines are buried 50 meters away from the houses. Can you imagine seeing the sign “DANGER Minefield” from your garden?


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[The area just released]

By using some of the limited water from the public wells some families have started farming even though their activities are carried out so close to the minefields.

Little by little people are starting to rebuild their lives. To do this they need to think how to use the limited water effectively, which vegetables to grow and how they can all work together to get the best results. We hope that we can help these people to become even stronger.

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[Vegetables which grows with limited water]


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June 15, 2017 in Sri Lanka |