03/24/2014, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Yogurt as a "tool of independence" for Tamil women

by Melani Manel Perera
An association based in Sri Lanka's Western Province donates two yogurt-making machines to the women of a village in the Northern Province. Most of the latter are widows, struggling to support their family. The new economic activity will be "a solution to economic problems and a way to encourage co-operation."

Mullathivu (AsiaNews) - For some 40 Tamil​​ women in northern Sri Lanka, two yogurt-making machines represent "a permanent solution to our economic problems, a tool for us to get together and a way to respect our dignity as human beings."

The donation, which was made by Da Bindu Samuhikaya, a women's association in Ekala-Jael (Western Province), arrived on 16 March.

For Chamila Thushari, who is the association's coordinator, the two machines are "our way to celebrate Women's Day, a helping hand to overcome daily hardships."

In Kannikkurny, villagers have been going through economic hardships. In many families, women are the only breadwinners because their husbands were killed in the Civil War, or died young.

The 40 women, some of whom are disabled, belong to the Rural Women's Development Society (RWDS), an association that operates locally to empower women.

On this occasion, they met with Da Bindu Samuhikaya representatives.

On behalf of the members, RWDS president Nallaiya Saraswati Devi thanked the Da Bindu Samuhikaya.

"We really appreciate your care and concern for us," she said. "These machines will be of great help to us and are a sign of great respect."

Other women told AsiaNews that "due to the large quantities of cow's milk at our disposal we will get into the yogurt-making business." This way, "by working together, this gift will also help us cooperate."

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