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Project Compassion: Nirangini’s story


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Project Compassion 2014 - Sri Lanka from Caritas Australia on Vimeo.

Project Compassion 2014 Sri Lanka News Story
“We are very thankful to Caritas and the people who helped us. We now have the confidence to stand on our own feet and look after ourselves,” says Nirangini. Photo: Viyan Fernando/Caritas Sri Lanka

Nirangini, 31, grew up in Veravil, a small fishing village in Sri Lanka.

The country's civil war forced her to move nearly a dozen times. Now that the war has ended, Nirangini has returned to the childhood village she loves so much and, with Caritas Australia's support, is getting back on her feet.

Nirangini remembers her childhood fondly, growing up in a family of nine siblings during peacetime in Veravil.

From 1983 to 2009 a civil war affected Sri Lanka. When the conflict impacted Veravil, the entire community was forced to leave. Nirangini, her 67-year-old mother and her son, who was seven-years-old at the time, were constantly on the move with no permanent home.

During those years, poverty and the trauma of constantly being on the move took a toll. There was little food or water and Nirangini’s son became undernourished.

In December 2009, in the hope that a familiar environment would offer a safe setting for her son, Nirangini and her family moved back to her childhood village.

In Veravil, a Caritas Sri Lanka program, supported by Caritas Australia, was assisting families to resettle.

In March 2012, the Caritas program supported Nirangini to build her own permanent home.

“We had survived a war and just managed to return to our home with virtually nothing. Now with the support of Caritas my family lives in a proper house. I am so relieved. The state of uncertainty we were living in is now over,” Nirangini said.

“We now have the confidence to stand on our feet and look after ourselves.”

Thanks to a livelihood grant, Nirangini was able to start a home garden and small poultry business. These give her a good income and provide her family with nutritious food.

A permanent home and an income source are also beneficial as it means her son can attend the village school and gain a good education.

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