Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines

Improving mental health and reducing economic hardship of vulnerable women and communities in Northern Sri Lanka

09/07/2017 - 15:46
Public Health and Social Protection

The action aims to contribute to improved mental health and reduced economic hardship of vulnerable women and other at-risk community members in post-conflict affected areas of Northern Sri Lanka.

More specifically it aims at increasing women’s and other at-risk community member’s access to responsive psychosocial support and mental health services. As a part of the initiative realising and strengthening women’s income generation skills and knowledge remains key.

Total Cost (EUR): 481 928

EU contracted amount (EUR): 400 000

Duration: February 2016 - January 2018

Implementing organisation: WORLD VISION AUSTRALIA

Funding Instrument: European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)

Benefitting zone: Sri Lanka

STORY: Improving mental health and reducing economic hardship of vulnerable women and communities in Northern Sri Lanka     

 

'The pain that I have endured has been unbearable. My children are the reason for me to keep living and fighting. I feel hopeful now and know that I am better equipped to face obstacles thrown my way. The group therapy sessions help a great deal, I now know I am not alone'.

Rani

 

 

CONTEXT

The project 'Improving Mental Health and Reducing Economic Hardship of Vulnerable Women and Communities in Northern Sri Lanka' has already benefitted around 534 patients, deemed 'recovered', out of 583. The ultimate goal of this EU support is to be able to assist 1200 vulnerable women and at-risk community members, including widows and disabled persons through group therapy and 5000 – 6000 women and community members through outreach, counselling and referrals.

OBJECTIVES

  • Increase women’s and other at-risk community member’s access to responsive psychosocial support and mental health services
  • Strengthen women’s income generation skills and knowledge.

RESULTS

  • Improved functionality of women and at-risk community members affected by mental illness and psychosocial conditions.
  • Improved capacity of community-based primary health care workers to provide basic psychosocial support and referral services to women and at-risk community members.
  • Improved resilience and awareness of community members to improve the supportive capacity of the community.
  • Increased economic productivity of women trough enhanced skills in traditional livelihood sectors

TESTIMONY

Rani, the brave woman.

Rani is a 29 year old with two children. Barely married for five years and widowed at 22 years of age, she has led many lives she says. She met Mayooran when she was very young.  Despite the failing security situation, they felt they stood a chance of making it through. This is part true. She did make it through, along with her two children whereas her husband died due to artillery shelling at the peak of the war between LTTE and Sri Lankan security forces. It has not been easy since, Rani and her two children have been displaced many times, they do not have much except memories from the time when Mayooran was alive. The camp for the internally displaced was uncomfortable; a place which made them fear for their future but it has been a few years since they returned to their district of Kilinochchi.

Being a single mother and what statistically in Sri Lanka is called a Female Headed Household, Rani was convinced by members of her family to remarry. It was then that her troubles actually started becoming a victim of mental, sexual and physical abuse. Rani since her marriage, attempted to take her life many times but unsuccessfully so. It was then that she was referred to the EU funded and World Vision implemented Inter Personal Therapy Group.

 Looking back at her life, Rani says 'The pain that I have endured has been unbearable. My children are the reason for me to keep living and fighting. I feel hopeful now and know that I am better equipped to face obstacles thrown my way. The group therapy sessions help a great deal, I now know I am not alone'. Serious and debilitating problems pertaining to mental health in Sri Lanka continue to persist. In the local context, these problems are intricately linked with the 30 year ethnic conflict that ended in 2009. Poverty, marginalisation of vulnerable communities including women, and the shortage of mental health professionals further exasperates the situation.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 534 patients
  • 5000 – 6000 women and community members through outreach, counselling and referrals
  • Assist 1200 vulnerable women and at-risk community members
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