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Selling hopper, selling roasted peanut and cleaning onion for whole sellers

Full Name     : Ramalingam Ilakanasundri

Address         : Beach Road, Anbuvelipuram, Pandiruppu

Age                 : 62

Sex                  : Female

Livelihood    : Selling (appam) hopper, selling roasted peanut and cleaning onion for whole sellers

I am Ramalingam Ilakanasundari. I live in Anbuvelipuram in Pandiruppu village. I had nine children and I lost four of them after a few years of their birth. Now I have a son & four daughters and my son and two of my daughters are married. Their marriages were early marriage due to poverty in our family and they could not complete the education after grade 8. The unmarried two daughters are with me and one of them able to complete G.C.E (Ordinary Level) examination. We suffered a lot from poverty. Meanwhile, I lost my husband due to serious asthma.

His lost was unbearable setback for my family and I could not know what to do after his death. I came forward to sell string hopper & liquor and I could able to look after my family and our basic needs. During this period, tsunami hit on 26th of December 2004.

When the tsunami hit, I was preparing string hopper to sell. I heard a big sound and I came to see what had happened. I could not realize but I trapped in waves and survived by holding roof of a house. I did not have any idea about my children. Later, I met one of daughters in nearby village. Her legs and hands were broken and security forces took her to hospital. I was searching to see another daughter. Unfortunately, I heard her dead news and I was collapsed. I had lots of hope on her as she was brilliant in her studies. I thought she would look after the family and all sorrow would go by her. But, the destiny was something else.

We have been accommodated by our relatives and moved to welfare centre at school in Annamalai village. Then, one by one we have been moved to welfare centers. We spent nearly 9 months in a hindu temple welfare centre, 6 months in another hindu temple in Pandiruppu village and 4 months in another hindu temple in the same village. We have been provided by tents and temporary shelters for our accommodation.

Our house was totally wiped out and we became refugee in our own village. When we were living with out any future hope, we heard from GN and Samurthi officers that SWOAD is going to provide shelter for tsunami victims. They announced for a common meeting to select families and I attended to the meeting. There were lot of criteria to select families and 10 families have been selected according to the criteria. I was one of the selected. The final list of selected families was displayed in common places for public opinion and sent to government officers. They all endorsed the beneficiary selection.  Therefore, SWOAD request to submit the relevant documents, which are needed for construction of a house. We were informed about the construction procedures and the work started with our participation. After the completion of the house, SWOAD handed over the key to us.

I joined as a member of SWOAD and various awareness programs & initiatives have been introduced to us. I started to save money from my income. I learnt new things such as disaster, HIV, climate change, organic farming, health and nutrition. So, I decided to stop selling liquor and I do not engaged with such livelihood. Later, I joined with SHG and started small income generation activities such as selling (appam) hopper, selling roasted peanut and cleaning onion for whole sellers and home garden. I receive approximately Rs. 300/- per day and I manage the expenses, and I do saving.

The house that I received is useful in terms of protect, privacy, health and better life. Also, it is very useful to my daughter as she is not married yet. However, I have a marriage proposal for her as we have house, which is compulsory for marriage of a young girl in our custom.

I always thank SWOAD for helped me in various ways in my sorrow time and I thank Christian Aid for funding support, which helped poor people like me. Thank you!


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