Dollie Ambassador and world traveler Chantal Prunier traveled in November to Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Jaffna suffered greatly during the 2009 civil war, and the refugees and internally displaced persons are now just starting to return to their homes. According to Wikipedia, the majority of the population are Sri Lankan Tamils, and most Tamils are Hindu.
“When I visited Jaffna, the area had been battered by the civil war and the 2004 tsunami. The girls pictured here live at the Salvation Army Shalom House. The children in this home either have no parents or just one (and in that case, the parent is unable or doesn’t want to assume care of their children so they are taken to the House). The orphanages in northern Sri Lanka were cleaned out a few months ago by the government, and relocated to the south (not sure why that happened). For some reason, these lovely girls were left at the Salvation Army Shalom Children’s House (in the north). There were no boys there. Most of the girls were ages 11 – 14, and unwanted by their families.
The girls were vivacious on the Sunday afternoon I visited…maybe because it was their day off from school and chores. They LOVED the dollies! I spoke with them, encouraging them to do their best, live with love and hard work, study hard especially English, Math, and History… especially History so that the world will never forget the plight of the Tamils and the ravages of the civil war. We danced, and they showed me their living quarters/bunk rooms.
I want the Dollie ladies to know we did well by making the dollies and giving them to these girls. They WILL make a difference”.
“I gave two dollies to this fisherman’s children. They were so tiny – the girl was in third grade. They were born after the tsunami.”
“Sadly, the destruction of the bombed out homes and tsunami tombs in Jaffna was overwhelming. The government does not seem to want to take responsibility, and except for China international money is not coming in. China has built roads and infrastructure, and in return is receiving access to harbors, gems, and tea. Curiously all the workforce in the new Colombo Harbor is imported. Other than the Red Cross, Dollies Making A Difference – from what I could see – was the only NGO “on the ground at work”.