Anujan's story is only one tale of the success of a community development program in Trincomalee district. There are many such stories found in the village of Navatchcholai where he is a member of the child club.
Anujan’s family was relocated in 2011 to Navatchcholai from the UNCHR welfare center. They were originally from Kutchaveli. Anujan was selected as a Child Partner of CCCD (Child Centered Community Development) program in 2012 and has been a member of the child club since then. His family has been through much hardships during the war although Anujan was only a small boy then. The government provided them with shelter once they were relocated to Navatchcholai. The family has been living on subsistence income gained from fisheries. A fisherman’s life is always at stake. Anujan and his brother grew up in the care of his loving mother and saw little of their father.
Anujan (2nd from right) participates in a child club discussion led by LEADS staff member
Anujan (14) is studying in Grade 9 at Nilaveli Senior School. He is a member of the Valar Prai (translates to 'a waxing moon') child club in Navatchcholai. There he has learned of Child Rights and the importance of child participation during child club activities. The prominance given to building of the children's self-confidence through club activities has paid off. This has helped Anujan to do better in school. The child club also taught the children the importance of saving. Anujan took to heart this valuable lesson. Being poor he had a good sense of value for money. He saved from his pocket money every day. One day he came forth and presented a fish-bowl full of coins and notes to his mother. He asked her to use it to improve the family food business. The total collection was close upon 4000 rupees. It came as a big surprise to the parents. They were well pleased. Now the parents too save money and puts their savings in a bank deposit.
The child’s father Subramanium Yogarasa (40) used to be a fisherman for a long time. He recieved a meagre income depending on the size of the catch and weather conditions. His mother Yogarasa Madana Kumari (38) became a beneficiary of the CCCD livelihood project. With assistance coming from the project she was able to set up a food kiosk this year. Subramanium gave up fisheries and joined in to help to run the business.
Anujan’s brother Samindan (18) who is a member of the youth club is following a one-year course in Auto AC repairing at St. Joseph Technical College. Both boys are doing well and the family is happy. The mother spoke of her experience as an entreprenuer. Although she has been engaged in food produciton for some time this is the first time she learned on the skills of running a business. She has picked up skills in record management, book keeping, and saving through this program.
'Earlier my husband used to do fishing but now she is managing our food business. This means we don't have to hire extra hands. We are able to manage by ourselves and make a better profit'. 'I am really glad we have a savings group in our village. It was through the savings group that I got training on how to run a business'.
The program involves other women who are enaged in self-employment. The extra income obtained from these alternative livelihoods is helping people who are still lacking in many ways, to improve the standard of living. Her only wish was that one day her two sons would do well in life.
Child-Centered Community Development programme is a long term project carried out by LEADS in the North-Eastern and Southern regions. The project seeks to address issues of under-served communities through a Rights-Based Approach and by having its focus on child participation in development inititiatives.
Subramanium & Madana-Kumari engaged in food business