Most of the poor people of the Jaffna Peninsula live in rural areas. The three decade civil conflict in the north of the country has led to a major impact on poverty, leading to the displacement of about 800,000 people from their homes and sources of livelihood. Thousands of children have lost one or both parents, and there was an increase in the number of households headed by women, which are more likely to be exposed to economic hardship. More than half of the rural poor people of Jaffna are micro-farmers. Agricultural growth in the Jaffna Peninsula has been sluggish. A significant lack of infrastructure such as roads, electricity, and irrigation and communication facilities limits opportunities to earn income through off-farm activities.
Agriculture is the major employer in rural Jaffna, and an important stimulus for other sectors of the economy. Small-scale farmers produce most of the agricultural output, but their production systems are hampered by neglect, poor economies of scale, low investment levels resulting from poor financial services, and inappropriate or limited technology. Other factors that affect poor farmer’s livelihoods include fragmented landholding, post-harvest losses, inconsistent produce pricing and trade policies, and market constraints. It is clear that society is disintegrating due to the effect of war on women. Efforts should be made to provide employment training and employment opportunities to women in the Jaffna Peninsula.
This project aims to support the poor rural women in the Jaffna peninsula by setting up Sewing Machine Centres in economically deprived areas. The first centre is in Nallur Jaffna. Equiped with 10 machines, women will be trained in how to use the machines before being welcomed to visit and utilise the machines in the Centre on a time sharing system to fulfil the orders they receive from their fellow villagers. A nominal monthly fee will be charged to meet the operating costs of the project.