A Jaffna Story: Selvanayagam Vithushan

kid in jaffna

The case study of a young orphan boy.

Sri Lankans have an almost mythical belief in getting the kid to school. From the lowliest watte to Colombo 7, kids will get a pressed white uniform and whatever they need to just get to school. While school fails to deliver advanced social mobility, at the ordinary level it’s kinda OK.

But how do you go to school when your father, mother, brother and two sisters are dead? This is a case study of Selvanayagam Vithushan, born on my birthday, 1999.

Vithushan, born on September 2, 1999 is a 12 year old child studying in grade 6 at Anaikkoddai Balasubramaniam Maha Vithyalayam.During the final stages of the armed conflict in the Vanni, Vithushan lost all his immediate family members namely, his father, mother, brother and two sisters at Mathalan on March 3, 2009…

In March 2011, when we first visited Vithushan, he did not show any interest in studies and did not attend school regularly due to poverty as his Guardian Theresa was struggling to meet the demands of the household with the earnings from a small grocery shop that she operated. At the time, all what Vithushan had in his mind was to become a Mason like his father.

In August 2011, Vithushan started receiving his educational study pack and we observed that his school attendance was improving day by day. He joined evening classes and was occupied with his studies throughout the day. (Glorious Jaffna)

This basic assistance is provided by Glorious Jaffna, a project of Asia Capital PLC et al.

Glorious Jaffna “Let’s put a bit of Jaffna into our lives” will continue to provide assistance to innocent war effected children like Vithushan so that they will have a better future for their lives. By providing the necessary educational resources to children they will be on a equal stead with other children in the country and the relationship between the donor & child will broaden child’s perspective on people outside the Northern Province, which will ultimately minimize the possibility of communal violence in the future. (Glorious Jaffna)

I think this is what to do. If half the money the LTTE etc abroad spent on hiring halls or international lawyers was spent on simply helping the people of Sri Lanka, then in 10 years this literate, educated youth could deliver the social justice and equality that this country deserves. And that’s the vital question. Who doesn’t believe in justice or equality? The problem is execution.

Generational Regeneration

Justice and accountability are used cynically by many in the diaspora, just to continue the war by other means. Let’s talk about the issues realistically, not as something to beat the GoSL over the head with. Who is going to deliver justice and accountability? It has to come from the people of Sri Lanka, because they have the power and it is their right. It cannot come from people that don’t vote or even show up in the streets, and it cannot come from international bodies. They can help, but they have to help people on the ground.

Who are those people on the ground and what do they want? They want to work and put the kid in school. Because they’re dumb and don’t understand big words like democracy? No, because they’re smart and they understand that life goes step by step. They understand the value of investing in education and letting something flower in ten years.

When those kids grow up, when they’re literate and not dead, they will create a world better than what we could have imagined. They can elect (and be) a better government, they can write a better history, and most importantly – they can change the power balance in this country. That’s worth investing in, and it’s worth waiting for. You must understand that the LTTE wasted a generation or more of youth. We need to build that resource up again.

Kudos to organizations like Sri Lanka Unites and Glorious Jaffna that are doing it.

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1 Comment »

2011-11-25 09:09:03

Hi Indi,

Not to forget the amazing work SOS Children’s Villages in Sri Lanka did just after the war and the work they continue to do till today. This is not only for the children who lost their families due to the war but through supporting many families all over SL.

More here –> http://www.soscvsrilanka.org/we_care.php


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