In 1995 Ratheesh, his parents and three siblings were displaced due to conflict and came to live in Mullaitivu. He studied at the Udayarkattu school but was unable to complete his higher education. He had to spend two years in a refugee camp due to conflict and returned to Thevipuram in 2011.

He couldn’t continue his education at this time as he had to work with his father as a labourer to help cover the family expenses.

Later in 2014, he got married to a girl from the same village. Even though they lived on their own, they struggled to make ends meet due to a lack of a proper and permanent source of income. Thoughts of both joy and a sense of helplessness would have entered their minds as they welcomed their baby girl to the world in 2017, figuring out how they would nurture and care for their child.

This time around the government came forward to aid them in building a house. However, at the time Ratheesh didn’t have land. So, to begin the work of building the house, he obtained a loan of LKR 500,000 to buy a land. Further financial help was also retrieved from micro-finance companies to support him with the work. Grateful for the help he received, the work on the house progressed. However, he also realised that the money he received wasn’t sufficient in total to pay off the loan as well as to meet monthly expenses.

Surely as a ray of hope shone through the darkness, it was at this time that the Compressed Stabilised Engineered Brick (CSEB) yard was started by LEADS in Vallipunam. Therefore, Ratheesh was given the opportunity to work full time at the yard as a driver cum labourer and he is satisfied with what he does. “My earning capacity grew since I started working in the yard.”  He’s able to earn between LKR 1,500-2,000 a day which comes to about LKR 35,000 per month. He has been working for the past three years in the yard. As a result of this, he is able to resettle his loans and other expenses as well. Since this job has given him a secure base for his work and he earns a stable salary which is given on time, he is very happy.

He also recalls how LEADS has helped his children with educational support. “I am thankful to LEADS for helping us in many ways throughout these past years. Not only I but also the other people living in the surrounding villages also benefit especially from the yard that has been set up.”

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