[Sri Lanka] Single Mothers Battle on in Former War Zone

Amantha Perera – IPS– Tuesday, 08 July 2014 (originally published 07 Jul)

Mother and children standing outside
Subashini Mellampasi, a 34-year-old single mother of three, including a disabled child, raises goats to provide for her family. Image: Amantha Perera/IPS

VALIPUNAM, Sri Lanka, Jul 7 2014 (IPS) – The village of Valipunam, 322 km north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, occupies one of the remotest corners of the country’s former war zone. The dirt roads are impossible to navigate, there are no street lights, telephone connections are patchy and the nearest police post is miles away, closer to the centre of the battle-scarred Mullaitivu district.

Here, even able-bodied men fear being alone in their homes. But 35-year-old Sumathi Rajan knows that if she leaves her small shop unattended at night, there is a good chance there’ll be nothing left in it the next morning.

Determined to preserve her sole income source, she sleeps on the shop floor every night, along with her 12-year-old son, despite the very real threats of theft, and even rape . . .

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