Selvaranjini (44) is a mother of three. She lives in the Vallipunam village in Kilinochchi with her husband and children. Her husband is a daily wage earner and two of her children are schooling while the eldest is following a vocational training programme with the hope of receiving employment soon.

For Selvaranjini, the past was bleak. The effects of the three-decade war seem to haunt her to date. She bore severe injuries during the conflict which damaged her nerves. Adding to her misery, later, she was diagnosed with Cancer. “I had injuries both in the head and the leg that damaged my nerves. After some time, I was diagnosed with cancer.”

After the war, she spent two years in a refugee camp in Vavuniya. With the hope of living a peaceful life with her family, she resettled in Vallipunam. The 44-year-old is optimistic about her life. She doesn’t want her illness to be an obstacle in moving forward.  Currently, she is undergoing treatment, but having to bear the extra burden of financial expenses for her medication was slightly too much to handle. Nevertheless, she was able to cope and manage with her husband’s income.

However, life did not continue to treat her well. The spread of COVID-19 worsened the economic situation and this made it extremely difficult to meet the essential needs of the family. In addition, her husband fell ill and was unable to work. Her struggles never ceased, as they spent most of the days only with one meal.

It was during this time that Selvaranjini came across LEADS. Having joined the LEADS Self Help Group (SHG), she was provided with a loan of LKR. 10,000 which helped her start a small business. With the income she earned from this venture, she was able to provide for the family. However, due to the economic crisis in the country, she struggled to carry on with the business.

At the same time, she was selected by the village office for the Livelihood Assistance Programme by LEADS. Through this programme, a small store was renovated and given to her. This shop is located on the Vallipunam main road. Today, she earns an income of LKR 2,000 a day selling fruits and vegetables. With this income, she is able to manage her children’s education and the medical needs of her husband and herself.

“I have been saving through a small savings group for over two years now. We were going through economic hardships and have been able to meet our needs through this livelihood project carried out by LEADS. I sincerely thank LEADS for the service they have provided which has been an immense support to us in this time of need. I hope to improve this shop so that it will prosper one day.”  Says Selvaranjini with a glaring smile on her face.

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