Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Alternatively Able Persons

Reporting from Vanni, Part IX

by K. Mylvaganam

Those I wrote about refused to accept the donations received by me. Hence, just as the way I tackled Senkodan, I put the money in a Fixed Deposit account in the name of their children in the bank and delivered the saving books to the kids.

 

A few months back I wrote an article about on Senkodan who is blind. It received lot of response from several generous readers from among the Tamil Diaspora. They expressed their desire to get in touch with Senkodan and similar people personally and thank them for the sacrifice they have done for liberating our community from the despotism of the cruel Sinhala regime.

Some have even sent money as a token of their gratitude. But, of course, those sending funds were very particular to underline that no monetary contribution will be sufficient to compensate for their loss. But those I wrote about refused to accept the donations received by me. Hence, just as the way I tackled Senkodan, I put the money in a Fixed Deposit account in the name of their children in the bank and delivered the saving books to the kids. The parents had to reluctantly accept the savings books, partly because they did not want to hurt my feelings, perhaps.

I can say that they are a proud lot and lead a highly contented life form. When I made a survey of the rest of those in similar condition, I was able make contact with fifteen couples so far. They live widely spread throughout Vanni.

I was lucky to muster five of them today for a common discussion. And I was not surprised that all of them had the same attitude as Senkodan. The only difference was that Senkodan has lost his eyesight completely and these five are completely paralysed below the hip. Two of them came with their wives. One of them is a female sweetly named Innmozhi. It is a fitting name for her as she is blessed with a sweet voice to match her beautiful face. With the intention of withholding their identity for purposes of security, I have taken the photograph in such a manner that their faces cannot be identified easily.

The meeting was arranged by one Naveen, who is also in a similar situation as the rest of the five.

Naveen is the cosignatory with me in the bank account we have opened to receive the monies sent by the Tamil Diaspora. There are no overhead charges in this venture. Hence, the entire money received is relayed to the children of those 'Alternatively Able' parents. Naveen, despite his limited ability to move freely, is a tireless worker. He is involved in several activities which I cannot write about for obvious reasons. I have his permission to send his photo and address only to those who are developing contact with the above mentioned individuals. His son Kaviarasan, who is only 16 months old, is a bundle of mischief. He gets pleasure in pulling my beard and when I scream, he laughs loudly.

These five families, except one who lives in Vaddakkachchi, stay fairly close to each other. Even though they are not related to one another in any way, yet I noticed the children addressing the elders as Periyappa, Chinnaiah, Chinnamma, Periyamma, Mama and Mami. It speaks of the intimacy among the families. In the photo you will see them carrying the children in their arms or laps, but quite interestingly none of them - I repeat none of them - are carrying their own children in their hands. As they came in one by one, I heard the children calling Periyappa, Mama or Mami and they simply jumped into the adults' arms.

Among several other things, I was impressed to see how the adults move about in their wheelchairs. All of them while they are on the move on the road do not roll on all four wheels. That slows them down. Therefore, they lift the front two wheels, balance themselves on the big rear wheels alone and roll on quite fast. Even while they are stationery, they are at ease on two wheels. You can note it from the photo how one was posing for the photo with the neighbour’s child on his lap. When I worriedly asked whether he wouldn’t tip over, he just smiled – I got it that they are a fish in water when they are on their chairs. They spend the whole day on the wheelchairs.

I understood from their partners that they do take care of most of the housework to the best of their ability; going shopping and even taking the child to the hospital, etc. They do gardening also with the help of tools that have elongated handles. When it comes to cooking, it is a piece of cake for them, the partners say very proudly. The cooking platforms are raised to suit them and the cooking ingredients are also placed in suitable heights. Hence, the partners need not be kitchen-bound. Instead, they go out whenever they can some find work to earn some income.

Already two children have received such bank books. We have recently received Rs.110,000.00 (US$ 1100.00) from donors in England. And more is expected soon. Hence we intend to increase the sum to Rs.25,000.00 (US$250.00) to each child.

Once the money is accepted, the photo of that child and the address will be forwarded to the Donors concerned so that they can have access to the child by way of sending greetings or Birthday cards. As I mentioned in my earlier insertion, I would like to underline that the children of the Donors will also benefit by developing contacts with these children in Vanni. Once the children are old enough to read and write, they can exchange letters among them, thus providing knowledge and insights about Vanni to our kids in the Western world and vice versa.

Anyone willing to know more about this in particular or about Vanni in general may contact me by email:

kandiah_mylvaganam@yahoo.co.in

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Reporting from Vanni

Part 1

Part II: Muzzling the Media

Part III: I Saw Richness in Poverty

Part IV: After Geneva, What?

Part V: The War Costs Everybody, but the Tamils More

Part VI

Part VII (A): Political Proposals

Part VIII