Concluded in 2009, the Sri Lankan civil war lasted nearly three decades and resulted in the estimated deaths of 80 to 100,000 people.
This tragedy produced a large number of households that are now headed by single, sometimes vulnerable women. Women who have often been victims of sexual violence, a weapon commonly used during the conflict. Today, these women struggle because reconstruction, reconciliation and rehabilitation efforts have not responded to their needs. Economic insecurity and social exclusion continue to make these women targets of violence, abuse and exploitation. According to a report by the London-based Minority Rights Group (MRG), rape and sexual harassment of women persist in former war zones. In Sri Lanka, some 89,000 widows, including members of about 40,000 female-headed households, remain extremely vulnerable to violence perpetrated by the police, the military, sex tourists and others.
For all of these reasons, Alternatives supports initiatives for vocational training for women, in addition to initiatives to promote women's rights.
Thus, Alternatives supports the National Fisheries Solidarity Organization (NAFSO) in Sri Lanka. Much more than a fishing movement, NAFSO works with marginalized groups such as internally displaced persons (IDPs), women and youth to promote women's rights and human rights as well as genuine sustainable development, particularly in the sectors that have been victims of the conflict.
With NAFSO, we work in collaboration with local religious leaders, administrative officials, women's committees, citizens' committees and even school authorities.
As you might imagine, this mobilization requires a considerable financial engagement.
Your support for the work that Alternatives and NAFSO are engaged in will not only help to create grassroots networks that will provide long-term support for the economic empowerment of war-affected women, but will support our programs which include training sessions that will help these women understand their rights and how to enforce them. Ultimately, this work aims to bring together a wide range of people across Sri Lanka to support women's rights.
We need your gift to better support the work of NAFSO with women who have been marginalized by three decades of war and who are fighting for their autonomy and rights.