The Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, under the direction of President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, has initiated livelihood development programs to support conflict-affected communities which cover internally displaced persons, refugee returnees, women-headed households, rehabilitated ex-combatants, families of missing persons and low income families.
Under this initiative, Tholakatti Nelli Crush production in the Kopay Divisional Secretariat Division was supported to construct a factory unit with quality standards including machinery at a cost of Rs. 3.5 million.
This project has been managed by a Christian mission and a large number of people have benefited from it, said Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy.
In the Chankanai Divisional Secretariat Division, the Anthiran leather production centre was supported under the reconciliation program with modern machinery and technology provided to produce leather-based products, including shoes and slippers.
Under the reconciliation-focused economic empowerment program, a coconut fibre extraction centre was supported with modern machinery to extract fibre from the coconut shell to use as a substitute for sand when growing plants and these products are exported to other countries.
In the Marathankeney Divisional Secretariat Division, the Kudaththenei area food production village has been supported with modern machinery and common service facilities including grinders for different products and packing machinery to market their products to the north and south, establishing an economic and business link between the north and south.
The total cost of the facilities was Rs. 2.8 million and they were formally handed over to producer cooperative societies, said Sivagnanasothy.
In the Nagarkovil area, a multi-purpose building was constructed under reconciliation Intervention program at a cost of Rs. 2.3 million and was handed over on 5 March.This centre is to be used for sewing training, food processing, packaging and other related activities. Thirty sewing machines were provided to 15 women rural development societies to conduct diploma classes for women.
These interventions helped the conflict-affected communities in Jaffna to secure employment, improve income and integrate into mainstream development.