07/30/2015, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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The civil war did not stop Dilakshini’s yearning to study

by Melani Manel Perera
The 18-year-old Tamil woman talks about the horrors and consequences of ethnic conflict, including the loss of family, work, and home. Jobless parents cannot pay for their children’s education. Dilakshini dreams of becoming “a great woman and work for this society."

Colombo (AsiaNews) – "Even when I was just a child, I still remember the noise of bombs and gunfire, the shouts and cries of the victims of war. I still remember how my mother would pick me up and take off running through the rubble of buildings. I saw people lying on the ground in pools of blood. Some were dead. So many homes were destroyed. We were displaced. I have dark memories of childhood from that time,” said Dilakshini Croos, 18, a Tamil Christian from the diocese of Mannar, who spoke to AsiaNews.

Dilakshini and her mother are some of the people who were internally displaced by Sri Lanka’s civil war. She attended the St Xavier Girls' School in Mannar.

After studying sewing, she is now looking for a job in that trade. However, she would like attend courses to learn how to use the computer to get more opportunities. “I want to become a great woman and work for this society," she said.

Money is the real problem. "I passed only five subjects in my examination,” she said. “I wanted to do it again in order to get to the next level, but I needed extra courses. My mother cannot help me. So, I gave up my studies and now I am looking for work."

Because of almost 30 years of conflict in northern Sri Lanka, hundreds of thousands of Tamils ​​ lost everything: family, property, work. Dilakshini and her mother Pabiola Anton, 46, are two of them. In order to maintain herself and her daughter, Pabiola does odd jobs.

"The war made us very poor,” said Dilakshini. “My mother prepares curry to sell in stores. She also cleans some houses. But the money she earns barely pays for our food. She cannot save anything, nor pay for my education. Our lives are very precarious."

The two women have been displaced for many years. "I was 11 when the war began in Wanni,” the young woman said. “One day a bomb fell and exploded near our house. Luckily, we were out and nothing happened, but I remember we ran to hide in a bunker. Several hours later, my father came back to get us out. There were many similar incidents."

"To be honest, we young people do not want to hear or see such horrors in our country,” she noted. “I never want to see young men without hands or limbs, disabled or displaced by war. All we Tamil need is to restart our lives, in peace, without problems."

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