Women Empowerment Success Story in Sri Lanka – Mangayatkarasy Balasingam

women empowerment sri lanka
Mangayatkarasy Balasingam with her cows

Mangayatkarasy Balasingam, a resident of Mahilankulam village was married to Mr. Vallipuram Balasingam who is a carpenter by profession and she is a mother of five children of them 04 are female and 01 is male.

They had been living happily with the income earned through carpentry; children had been very attentive towards their education. In 1997 owing to the war the family along with others in the village had to displace to other areas which they considered as safe for their life.

During their flight in displacement they underwent hardship, had to live in the open air under shades of trees risking their lives. The money and other valuables they had soon were spent on their food and other needs as they didn’t have any income for livelihood. In 2009 their second daughter Ahilambigai, a school going student at her 16th year of age was killed by an artillery shell attack which brought great sorrow in the family. The other four (04) children got married; the second daughter Vimalambihai who had three (03) children had died owing to her ill health and this had brought a responsibility to Mangayatkarasy to look after them in addition to her disabled husband.

After a spell of 16 years in 2011 Mangayatkarasy and family came for resettlement at Mahilankulam which is their place of origin. Their fields and land were seen with bushes and thickets; with great effort they identified the fields and lands belonging to them. As no money was available they could not clear the entire lands and had to live in a small, very temporary hut that was put up with their labour on a very small plot of the land. They did not have any basic facilities, protection against nature and poisonous reptiles, had only kerosene lamps made using bottle which they kept lit up for a very short time in the night; owing to it they had to go to bed very early. At that time an NGO gave them a temporary shelter.

Mangayatkarasy had become, reached 50 years of age, was unable to continue going for labour work to support the family. She remained at home looking after her grand children. Her daughter Vimalambigai had to take the role of earning income for the family by way of casual labour. At this situation she had come in contact with the RDF in a gender program carried out at the village.

RWF in an assessment identified her as one of the beneficiaries for livelihood assistance under an interest free credit program with the funding of Tech outreach of Malaysia and was given assistance for cow rearing. Mangayatkarasy says that she is very happy with the assistance with which two (02) cows were bought; the income that is derived from the sale of milk is the source of earning that supplements and complements the income for their day to day living. In addition Mangayatkarasy had adopted one of her nieces who had nobody to look after and thanks the RWF and Tech Outreach Malaysia for the helping hand given.

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