Women and orphans to get priority in camps, say officials

Around 7, 800 single-women-headed- families and 1034 orphan children have been identified in relief villages in Vavuniya, with special focus being given to upgrade their wellbeing a government official said yesterday.

Child Development and Women’s Empowerment Ministry secretary Maringa Sumanadasa said this was a delicate and sensitive matter that had to be handled carefully.

He said counselling sessions are being provided for these women by women development officers residing in the relief camps.

He said the Ministry had also established a women’s resource center in the Menik Farm where they can engage in various cultural and religious activities. He said they had also promoted an avenue for generating income by providing them with sewing machines adding that four such centres would be set up at other camps as well.

As a long term plan the Ministry hopes to introduce a credit scheme to provide entrepreneurial assistance and initiate training and study programmes in computer, home gardening, palm leaf products and languages.

“Initially, we hope to bring a team of 50 women to Colombo and give them the opportunity to share their experiences and cultivate new relationships with their counterparts in Colombo,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of the women’s bureau, Pradeepa Serasinghe told the Sunday Times the bureau was mainly concerned with two aspects – economic and social empowerment of these women.
“We are currently identifying the available human resources in the relief villages. We have already identified several doctors, engineers and other skilled women in various fields,” she said.

Meanwhile Mr. Sumanadasa said they would be opening a children’s home, “arunodayam siruvar illam” in Vavuniya, for 339 orphan children, tomorrow. The Probation and Child Care Department was assisting them in this regard, he said.

The new children’s home is to be set up in the former TRO four storey office building. With this addition, there would be three children’s homes in Vavuniya. The ministry is currently implementing a programme in Rambaawe, in the Anuradhapura District to record information and give each child a health card with the support of 20 voluntary doctors.

He also said several early childhood development centers (pre schools) for children between the ages of 2 – 5 have been set up, with three more centres to be established within the next two weeks.

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