ASIA/SRI LANKA - Starting a life again after the war: Caritas's contribution to expatriate families

Friday, 18 January 2019 caritas   development   refugees   wars  

Colombo (Agenzia Fides) - Caritas Sri Lanka is committed to helping the refugees who had taken refuge in India, offering them opportunities to start a new life. In fact, after the end of the 2009 war, many families who had taken refuge abroad, in countries like India, decided to go back home. "However, for them the journey to Sri Lanka was not easy for several reasons", explained Fr. Mahendra Gunatilleke, National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka. Among the families who fled to southern India during the civil conflict in Sri Lanka, in the early 1990s and in the following years, many are now returning to their homes and need to be helped to start their lives again.
Understanding the difficulties faced by these families, Caritas Sri Lanka has launched a project to support families of returnees, thanks to the financial assistance of Caritas Japan. As part of the project, Caritas will facilitate families to obtain the necessary personal documents, such as birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, land records and related documents, citizenship documents and school certificates. Caritas helps to reintegrate repatriated families into society, recovering the situation and the essential preconditions of citizenship.
In addition, the Director informs, "a number of people will be provided a subsistence allowance to start or expand income production activities. Families will be trained to develop skills and professional skills to systematically pursue their livelihood activities". This is "a service of help to the person and the family in a broad sense", notes Fr. Mahendra. A total of 150 families are assisted in obtaining legal documents while another 20 will be supported with projects that they intend to accompany on the path of self-maintenance. The project has been implemented in three dioceses: Mannar, Trincomalee and Jaffna and in 2019. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 18/1/2019)