Give the IDP some reason to live for
Posted on June 7th, 2009

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai, Vanderwert Place, Dehiwela.

Having had dealt with the Muslims who settled in Puttalam after being chased away in 1990 and with the tsunami ravaged areas, many of us the NGO’s have recognized two major mistakes done by us it the process of rehabilitating them one consequent to the other .

Having felt sympathy for them, we treated them as if they are incapable of doing anything for themselves. Therefore the NGO’s brought laborers and other skilled workers from outside and cleared areas, built houses, dug wells and fed and clothed them. This brought out two outcomes: one: they expected us to pamper them even in small matters, such as clearing their own front yards and secondly we created a generation of lazy people who will not even lift a finger to change their own situation. We have a group of younger generation in Puttalam who neither studied well nor found manual labor appealing. Ultimately they ended up as a crowd spending their time outside the tea boutiques, indulging in futile TV watching, drugs, vain talk and other vices. Though this is not a sweeping statement, we did create a group thanks to being over pampering and under utilizing their skills.

Let us not do the same mistake again with the present IDP. It is a known fact they are not going to go back to their own homes for a long time to come. As soon as they regain their strength and minds, they should be given the option of working to build the houses and other paraphernalia needed for their living. The younger generation should be given the option to continue their studies – which should be compulsory for the little ones as it is in other parts of the country; and for the older youth, some vocational training must be set up which will help them to go forward in life. And for the elders the chance to participate in rebuilding their own living areas, and they should be paid for this..

This way they will have a purpose in life and this will also help them to recover from the mental trauma they are undergoing, because of what they went through as well as because of the loss of their loved ones.

We will end up with a healthier society if we plan this carefully.

One Response to “Give the IDP some reason to live for”

  1. Siri Says:

    Dear Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai, Vanderwert Place, Dehiwela: This is a great idea. I would have liked to help you, but am too far away in NY, USA. You should put a proposal together with details and forward it to the GOSL. I am sure they will appreciate it. There are also Sri Lankan groups who may be approached for additional help regarding funding. Please write to our Ambassodor in NY and he will help you to get in touch with these groups.

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