Communal harmony prevails in Panama
PANAMA: The people of all communities in Panama live in
perfect peace and harmony. They seemed to pay attention to anything
other than their means of livelihood.
During our recent visit to Panama, we witnessed women in the area
have organised themselves to set up their own co-operative system for
the welfare of the community.
The driving force behind the success of the co-operative project is
the group consciousness among them. Iyangari Subramaniam, a Tamil woman
married to a Sinhalese is a leading member of Panama Women’s
She is engaged in brick-making throughout the day to eke out a
living. She turns out about 300 bricks a day and sell them each at Rs.
Water is the live-wire of her project. Iyangari and her husband leave
no stone unturned to accomplish their future dream of providing a better
and more secure place for their only toddler. The Co-operative Society
helps its membership by granting loans ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs.
The STROME Foundation provides financial assistance to the
co-operative society. “It is mainly because of the group loans scheme
that defaulters have become less. Loans are mostly granted for
agriculture and fishing. Membership is on the increase daily. “We are
able to reap a big ‘harvest’ within a short period,” a directress of the
In Panama, the majority are Sinhalese but inter-communal marriages
between Sinhalese and Tamils take place very often. They all live
together as Sri Lankans in perfect harmony.
Janaki, who labours throughout the day for the upkeep of her family
says “Most of us are low-income families. We did not have fishing gear
or nets.” Within a relatively short period the poor families have been
able to achieve stability. The bank which provides money to the poor
people became the hub of activity in the village.
The patronage extended by STROME Foundation is tremendous for the
women uplift in the terror-stricken East Sri Lanka.