“Service and Sacrifice”: Celebrating the centenary of International Women’s Day with Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Each person must live their life as a model for others”~ Rosa Louise McCauley Parks-February 4, 1913-October 24, 2005, African American Civil rights activist

We will be celebrating the centenary of International Women’s Day on March 8th 2010. This year’s theme of International Women’s Day is “Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all”.

In 1910, The Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen established a Women’s Day international in character to honour the movement for women’s rights and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament.

A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day to press for their demands.

Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah

Humanityashore spoke to Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah in order to highlight the centenary celebrations of International Women’s Day 2010.

“I enjoyed cooking and serving food for all. I love to take care of others. I like all food. I led a healthy and wealthy life in my village- Tharmapuram” says charming and soft spoken Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah who sits straight on a chair in a living room in Kalubowila.

She celebrated her 99th birthday on February 6th 2010 in her son’s house outside Colombo. Her children, daughters-in laws, grandchildren, great grandchildren and relatives sent her greeting cards, called and visited her in person and wished her long life.

Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah has 8 sons (one died when he was 18 year-old), 12 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. She hails from Chavakachcheri in Jaffna Peninsula.

She moved with her family to Tharmapuram on 29th of April 1959, and continued to live there till she got displaced in 2009. She came to Colombo in October 2009 after spending sometime with her granddaughter in Vavuniya after the displacement. She did not want to come to Colombo, but her children wanted her to rest in Colombo for awhile. Her husband Reverend Thambyrajah was a Priest of Church of South India and he died in 1982.

“I am the first person in our family who lived this long, and I very much want to go back to my lovely village Tharmapuram, celebrate my centenary birthday and live there happily and die peacefully. It is my dream” mentions Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah in her pleasant voice.

It was a miracle that we were not injured and survived. My sons carried me on a chair all the way throughout the journey. It is a God’s blessing that we all survived unhurt. I thank the God wholeheartedly” says Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah with a big smile on her beautiful face. The war began when she was in her 60s.

“I miss my beautiful village very much” says a very gracious person Louisa Arulamma Thambyrajah while tears fill her eyes.

She is the only surviving founding member of Navajeevanam (New Life), which was established in 1959, and provided education and rehabilitation for the children in need. It is situated on Paranthan-Mullaitheevu main road. Their motto is “Ready for Both: Service and Sacrifice”.

Her grandchildren call her “Appuchcha”. Her memory is still strong .She is very well informed about the news from around the world. She remains a loving and caring person and strong-willed source of inspiration.
HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com


Crickets chirp continuously during a heavy downpour in Koozhaavaady,Batticaloa district in December 2009. The rain continued for a few days:




IV Chirping in Koozhavaady

Rain in Kaaraitheevu, Ampara district

Heavy downpour in Kaaraitheevu, Ampara District from HumanityAshore on Vimeo.

Kuyil ~ humming bird, Celebrating World sparrow day in Bamabalapitty, Mar 21, 2010

Kovil maniyosai in Koozhaavaady
HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

In pictures: Seminar and discussion on women’s participation in politics in Sri Lanka

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated”~ Maya Angelou (1928-)-Poet, dancer, film producer, television producer, playwright, author and actress

Women represent 52% of Sri Lanka’s total population of 20, 217,000 (2008 census) according to the Department of Census and Statistics of Sri Lanka, and 56% of registered voters.

There are only 11 women Parliamentarians out of the total 225 members in Sri Lanka, which is less than 6% according to a recent survey carried out by the Women and Media Collective.

39% of women are represented in Bangladesh Parliament and 28% women Parliamentarians in Pakistan.

A Seminar and Discussion on Women in Politics in Sri Lanka was organized by South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) Sri Lanka Chapter on March 2nd, 2010.

The event was organized to mark the Centenary Celebrations of International Women’s Day, which will fall on March 8th 2010.

Professor Kamala Liyanage of Arts and Political Science Department of Peradeniya University, and the Chairperson of Vizhuthu Shanthi Sachchithanamdam delivered the key note speeches followed by a discussion.

The South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) Sri Lanka Chapter was inaugurated on 19th May 2009.

Professor Kamala Liyanage from Arts & Political Science Department of Peradeniya University,Vice President of South Asian Women in Media Anoma Rajakaruna,Committee Member of South Asian Women in Media Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai and the Chairperson of Vizhuthu Shanthi Sachchithanandam

The Chairperson of Vizhuthu Shanthi Sachchithanandam addresses the gathering

Section of audience

Professor Kamala Liyanage of Arts & Political Department of Peradeniya University making her keynote address

Another section of the audience

Chandrika Soysa, Member of Maharagama Municipal Council-SLFP and Dr.Nimalka Fernando scanning and sharing their thoughts from a magazine

Chandrika Soysa,Member of Maharagama Municipal Council,SLFP addresses the gathering

Samanmali Gunasingha,Member of Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia Municipal Council-JVP addresses the gathering

U.D.M. Seelawathi, Leader of Uva Wellassa Agricultural Women’s Society addresses the gathering

Dr.Nimalka Fernando addresses the gathering

During an interactive session

This Seminar was held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS).
HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

20 years on, a collective voice for forgiveness in Kaathaankudy-A pictorial

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Mutual forgiveness of each vice. Such are the Gates of Paradise”~William Blake (November 28th 1757-Augsut 12th 1827). English Poet, Painter and Print maker

It is always an enchanting drive through the city of Kaathaankudy. Kaathaankudy is a small city which is situated in the Eastern Province, Batticaloa District. It is known for its own distinct culture.

The city is famous for the most number of mosques per square kilometer in the world. The city is one of the most densely populated cities in South Asia. 60,000 people live in 1.5 square kilometers. The overall majority of the population is ethnic Muslims, about 90%.

The distance between Colombo and Kaathaankudy is 318 kilometers (203 miles).

The people of Kaathaankudy are very hospitable and want to co-exist with other communities.

It was a Friday- August 4th 1990, when men and boys were prostrate in “Isha” prayers at 7.30pm. As the devotees knelt in prayers the cadres of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam opened fire at the worshippers at Majithul Meera Grand Mosque and Hussenia Mosque.

A total of 147 were killed in the two attacks. Many lives were lost, unwanted dreadful experiences were shared and mistrust grew enormously over the years.

Days, weeks, months and years have passed.

August 4th 2010 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Mosque massacre in Kaathaankudy.

Today, a collective voice for forgiveness can be clearly heard in Kaathaankudy.

Traditional Bullock carts are still being used in Kaathaankudy

M.T.Noordeen wants to forget the awful memories of witnessing the horror

Time to check and chat on well being

“We all are humanbeings, and make mistakes. We should forget the past, forgive each other and understand each other to live peacefully” says Naagoorthamby Masutha (36)

They are accomodative

Many say past should not be reflected

Importance to renew the relationship between the Muslims and Tamils is felt wholeheartedly by both communities

Looking for a new beginning

Special prayers are offered by the loved ones

Names of the people who were killed at Majithul Meera Grand Mosque are displayed at the same Mosque

The city has been a hotspot in 1990

Scars of the two decade long incident remain still

Call for prayers

A view of Majithul Meera Grand Mosque

“It was a horrible scene to witness where my beloved brothers were shot dead at a close range. It was a miracle that I managed to survive” says emotional S.I.M.Ismath (67)

Five year-old Sajan Kasim Athambawa

Kaathaankudy is a bustling town

Heavy load of firewood carriers are always an inviting scene in the East.

A scene on the street of Kaathaankudy

Kaathaankudy has a very rich distinct culture

Discussions are taking place on co-existence

A Rooster stands steady on a dried Coconut leaf fence

Cricket at dusk

Sunset in Kaathaankudy

Thank you. Have a pleasant journey
HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

In Pictures: “Walk for a Greener Lifestyle”

Bambalapitty: The First Green Town of Sri Lanka

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“If I keep a Green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come” ~ Chinese Proverb

“Walk for a Greener Lifestyle” was held today-February 14th 2010 in Bambalapitty, Sri Lanka. The walk began in the morning from Majestic City and ended at Savoy in Wellawatte. “Go Green Go”, “Let’s Go Green” and “We want justice” were the slogans chanted by the participants during the procession.

About 150 citizens who care for the environment participated in the walk which was led through the Galle Road. At the end of the walk the participants made their pledges. Thereafter, the citizens for Greener Sri Lanka visited the houses and stores in Bambalapitty, and created awareness on the threats of Climate Change and Green environment. Green Home Competition was also launched today in Bambalapitty.

Later during the day the participants actively participated in painting the wall in Bambalapitty of Spectrum Institute of Science & Technology.

“Bambalapittiya The First Green Town” ~ “Launch….. Feb 14th 2010” was painted in Green and Black on the wall of Green Army of Spectrum Institute of Science & Technology in Bambalapitty.

The walk was organised by the British Council, Green Army of Spectrum Institute of Science & Technology and Interact Club.

Many pledges were made during the day

Fathima Ashrifa Ali briefs the participants

“Care” says another Tshirt

Thaha Adamjee holds a banner

Walking through the Bambalapitty junction

View of Station Road in Bambalapitty

Voice of the Youth for Greener Sri Lanka

“Hotter Than I Should Be” says the Tshirt worn by a participant

Prefects of Bambalapitty Hindu College

Tho who joined the walk

Kids at the walk

Walking along warm weather

Change is needed to protect the environment

Participants on Galle Road near the Sammankodu Sri Kathirvelaiyutha Swamy temple (Maanikka Pilliyar Thirukoyil) in Bambalapitty

“Think Green” while being on the move

Near Davidson Road in Bambalapitty

Another banner carried during the walk

Beyond The Standards says Mahanama College Interact Club

This World Doesn’t Belong To You; It Belongs To Your Children

On the Galle Road

Walking near Savoy Theatre in Wellawatte

Visit to the houses

Krishan Balaji paints the wall

On the back of a Tshirt

Shahena Iqbal is seen busy painting the wall

They are being creative

Wrist bands and threads

Sabina Asif takes part in painting

Stopped by in Bambalapitty

Active painting is on

Prashanth Pathmarasa is seen here painting Green on the wall

Greener friendly notice board at the Spectrum office in Bambalapitty

Aasma Hussain paints the Town on the wall

Foot Print is painted on the wall

Painted wall in Bambalapitty

To read tweets from the spot on today’s “Walk for a Greener Lifestyle” Please log onto: www.twitter.com/DushiYanthini
HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com