Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nalanie: A light house in fisheries society which is dark in the bottom of it

The community which I selected to share with you is Nilwella, which is situated in Matara district in Sri Lanka. The main livelihood of the community is small scale fisheries. My organization, the Southern fisheries organization is working with the fisher people as a membership based organization with nearly 1200 members which is spread in 25 villages in  Matara district. Since 2002 we began our development and organizing activities in Nilwella village and began our animation work, social development work and also the fisheries issues. Some of the fisher women and men involved with our discussion.

After several visits, may be around 6 months, we were able to identified the leadership emerged from the community. We met some women and we explained about our work. The community leaders, mainly women explained their issues with us. It was very important experiences for as women were very openly discussed about the fisheries issues as well as wider societal issues among us. Some of the women in the group agreed to form a small group in the community and to continue the work.

The first group we formed there was ‘Jayani’ and there were five members in this group.
When we closely integrated with the community, we metvery important woman in the group. Our story is about the same lady whom we met in the group there.
Her name is K.H.Nalani. She is 54 years old, married and have two children a boy [18 years] and a girl [20 years]. Unfortunately both are having some birth origin difficulties to hear, and slightly mental defects. When we visited her home we realized her real family life with difficulties. Her husband also did not have permanent work, just doing some temporary work in the coast or any day today labor work in the village for their survival. Also they were lived in a temporary house. The lady was very much committed to the society and her life was in a real pathetic situation. The village mates and the organization wanted to improve her living condition and their way of thinking.

In our visits to the village, we met Nalanie and her family members. After one year, we talked with her husband and Nalanieabout their aim. They said that they need to start a business. Because Nalanie’s husband doesn’t like to work in fishing, because of their children’s situation. He can’t go to the sea and protect the children.

We asked them what kind of work he do. So they need to work in their house. Coir production is common in the area and they expected to learn on coir production and assistance for the machine, a simple technology. We arranged the training to make coir production to the community members and Nalanie’s husband was one among them. The other members of the women’s group also helped to start their production. Now they are running their work well. Nalanie’s son and daughter also engage to coir production and it has become a good income to family survival. 

Now we have a 15 women’s groups in Nilwella. Nalani is the leader of the whole group. She is one of the community leader in Nilwella area. If there is any issue in their village she is always in the fore front.

She is participating all activities when we are doing. She is the secretary in Southern Fisheries Organization district committee. Presently, Nalanie is a member of National Fisher People’s Organization of NAFSO and two years ago she was elected as one of the chair persons of the same. In 2013, Nalanie was awarded as one among 100 of Rural Women Leaders in Asia which was organized by Asian Rural Women Congress.
Nalanie is one of a strong women leader of SFO and NAFSO as she came out from the bottom of the social strata in our society and become one of very dedicated, brave women leader emerged from the grass root level in a remote village of Nilwella.



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