Thursday, October 11, 2007

Promotional Programme to Integrate The Migrant Returnees Into Sri Lankan Society.

In the month of October the Setik organized a major programme to help the migrant workers to resettle with their families. The objective of the programme was to help the migrant returnees and to re-integrate them to their families to start their income generating programmes. There were 51 beneficiaries selected from the three districts of the Central Province.

The occasion started at 10.00 a.m. on the 31st October 2007 at Setik Auditorium, Kandy. The Chief Guests of the celebration were His Loardship Bishop Vianney Fernando - Bishop of Kandy and Rt. Rev. Dr. Valence Mendis - Bishop In-charge of the Catholic National Migrants’ Commission. The special invitees for the occasion were Ms. Anne Bousquet - the country representative of CRS, Mr. Eduward of CRS and Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka - Vicar General in the Diocese of Kandy.

The programme commenced with a prayer and after lighting the traditional oil lamp. Introducation for the programme was given by the Director of Setik - Rev. Fr. George Sigamoney. In his address he mentioned about the unfortunate plight of the majority of migrant workers - most of them detained in prisons for petty crimes as they were unable to have legal representation to plead for them. He also said that the countries like India and Pakistan have banned females migrating as house maids to the Middle East countries as well as Bangaladesh and Nepal has restricted the number going as house maids. After his introduction to the programme three migrant returnees shared their pathetic experiences. A group of returnees enacted a very true to life drama on the daily drudgery faced by housemaids in the Middle East countries.

The launching of the English version of the book on Migration of Women as housemaids was another important item on the programme. A summary of the book was read and the book was presented to the invitees. The Chief Guests and special invitees were called upon to distribute the funds and 51 beneficiaries received funds Rs. 10,000 per each person. This was a short term objective of Setik to discourage of migration of women as house maids to the middle east countries.

His Lordship - Bishop Vianney Fernando stated that the Church would enhance assistance to these families and encourage mothers of families to remain with their children. His Lordship - Bishop Valance Mendis stated the Church is sending Sri Lankan Priests and religious sisters as volunteers to take care for the migrant workers. Ms. Anne representing CRS organization expressed that she found the programme very enlightening and that CRS will continue to assist to promote the welfare of the returnees.

There were about 350 people participated for the programme including the family members of the beneficiaries and the programme terminated at 1.00 p.m with the vote of thanks.
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