Story and Pix By:~ Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
It’s a rare scene in the Jaffna peninsula. These 10 women in Jaffna have come forward to take up a different and challenging livelihood option, and became tuk tuk drivers!The Women’s Education and Research Centre (WERC) opened a new avenue for the women who were in constant search for a sustainable source of livelihood, and driving tuk tuk was a novel option.
“The programme comprised two parts. The first part entailed gender sensitisation, building leadership qualities, personality development and understanding women’s rights and development. The second component was to provide training in trishaw driving” explains Dr. Selvy Tiruchandran, Executive Director, Women's Education and Research Centre (WERC).
It is encouraging to find, these women commit themselves to continue their journey by training and absorbing more women into the non traditional livelihood.
“I am an unmarried woman. I’m ready to face the challenges of this occupation” says enthusiastic Tharmini Visvavanathan.
These women bear the family burden, as they are either war widows or husbands have disappeared or been disabled due war or unmarried. These women undertake short and long distance hires. Men and women pop out, when these women confidently drive on the streets of the peninsula. They have broken the traditional barriers laid by society to become the breadwinners.
“I lost my husband during the last phase of the war. I have decided to be a three wheeler driver to feed my children” says Kavitha Satheeswaran from Puthukkudiyiruppu who has relocated herself to Jaffna for livelihood purposes.
Courtesy: CEYLON TODAY