The war that ravaged the northern and eastern areas of Sri Lanka is not a distant memory for Ehambaram. His loss is so great that he relives the painful past every day. Like so many war victims, Ehambaram too lost five members of his family and his entire house was destroyed. However, the day that is etched in his memory is 22 April 2009 – the day Ehambaram lost a part of his left hand. Just a month before the armed conflict ended, Ehambaram fell victim to gunfire in Puthumathalan which still to date, makes it difficult for him to engage in the mundane activities of day-to-day life. There is bullets lodged deep in Ehambaram’s spine and in his head that makes heavy work difficult. To make matters worse, Ehambaram is the breadwinner of a young family and nobody is willing to employ him because of his disability. Like so many others who were handicapped physically and financially by the 30 year war, Ehambaram too is heavily burdened by loans. His only mode of income is the Samurdhi welfare measures which give him SLR 9,000 every 3 months. However most of this money goes towards paying off his loans.
It was at a networking meeting held with the aim of connecting aid workers with those in need that Ehambaram heard about the Alliance Development Trust (ADT). On requesting for help from the ADT, Ehambaram’s plight was conveyed to its Business Development Unit. Taking into account Ehambaram’s inability to engage in heavy work, the BDU gifted him with a grant of SLR 2,500 to purchase poultry and SLR 10,000 to purchase a bicycle to help him market the eggs and meat he will get from the chickens.
Since the chicks are still too young to lay eggs, Ehambaram has started to plant manioc in his large garden. The bicycle he received from the ADT helps Ehambaran to transport the manioc to the marketplace in the town which is 10 km away from his home. “I am sad because of what I lost in the war. I am finding it extremely difficult to find food for our daily meals” said Ehambaram, explaining the situation he is faced with. “There was no one to help us. When we ask organisations for help they would only collect our details and not help us in any way. I am very grateful to your organisation for giving me chickens and a bicycle in my time of need.”
Read more about our other livelihood initiatives on our website www.adtlanka.org