Philanthropist and counsellor from Akurana, Kandy, GHANEEMA THAHA.
Born into the family of a village headman I have always been concerned with the problems of the people. In a village everyone knows everyone, but everyone does not know the problems of everyone. Only those who are willing to listen to the problems come to realize how difficult it is to live without a bread winner for the family. Today, what with the rising cost of living, disappearance of extended family system and lack of empowerment of women, if and when the husband dies, divorces or leaves the wife – usually burdened with the children too – she finds it almost impossible to survive. The need for empowerment in order to survive is essential but not done by any governmental departments. Therefore giving them financial assistance, for the minimum needs to be fulfilled, is essential. I have been involved in finding help for these single women – either from my own money or from kind donors. Helping them to get food and clothes, housing, wells on one hand and on the other hand listening to their problems and advising them how to get about life are two important aspects they need. Also whenever there are common problems in the village the woman’s voice is heard much better if only we take the trouble to get involved. I feel there is so much a village woman can do for the society if only we take the initiative to care enough about people.
Photograph by Shifani Reffai