Published: | Sri Lanka

My Time on the Ground in Vauniya

Mathura Thiagarajah, a 2018 diaspora changemaker, spent much of this summer volunteering as a Trauma Counsellor and Trainer in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka. These are some of her reflections.

As I near the end of my placement, I reflect that it will take time to fully digest all that I have learned from the staff, students, families and community that I have been fortunate to come to know through volunteering with the Organization for Rehabilitation of the Handicapped (ORHAN)  via These are my musings while I am still in Vavuniya.

ORHAN is an amazing organization that has been supporting individuals with disabilities since 1999. This organization was formed due to a need for services for the number of persons with disabilities, which proportionately increased due to the war in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, a large number of internally displaced individuals moved to Vavuniya. Programs that are currently offered include vocational training programs, a school for children with intellectual and physical disabilities, a livelihood program which provides agriculture support, fisheries support,small business support, and a rights-to-information series of workshops. The centre also provides counselling and speech and language therapy services. These programs are made possible through donations from the local and international community.

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