April 9, 2018 – Today, the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research launched a new series in the Stories of Resilience project titled, ‘Stories of Vaharai‘. The series focuses on highlighting the diverse experiences of Tamil survivors of the conflict from in and around the Vaharai region in the East.The stories featured present alternative narratives from survivors which does not narrow their lived experiences to helpless victimhood but rather promotes and accepts their agency. Stories can be viewed at www.storiesofresilience.com
For some time, she didn’t go anywhere by herself, and if she went out, she would take her mom. She brought this issue up with the District Secretariat and the Human Rights Commission, as well as Rehabilitation services.
The calls then turned into harassing her to marry an army man. Suba told a lie of self preservation, that her relative had already asked for her hand in marriage. She wore a big red pottu to symbolize being a married woman. They kept on coming to bother her mother about this for a few days. An army man would come to ask Suba to marry another army man and to join the army. They promised her a salary. She refused and refused.
But they still come by month to month and it’s hard to say when they will come, Suba says. If she isn’t there, then they’ll ask her mother. Sometimes Suba will hide when she sees them coming. And other times, her mother will be scared and say that Suba is sick in bed.
– Suba’s Story
We hope that the ‘Stories of Vaharai’ series draws attention to the often overlooked ongoing plight faced by Tamil communities in the East, and the significant trauma they have experienced, but also their strength and the ways in which they have survived. Stories will continue to be added to the ‘Stories of Vaharai’ series, and then a short print volume with the stories will be published this year in English and Tamil.
‘Stories of Resilience’ is a project by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) that aims to document and share stories of strength, courage and resilience of Tamil communities before, during and after the armed conflict. ACPR intends to preserve these stories for current and future generations of Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Diaspora as part of a broader conversation about Tamil identity. This project aims to contribute to efforts around the world to document and share stories of Tamil survival, by documenting stories of those who still live in Sri Lanka and continue to persevere.