Dawn of a new day and life for tsunami-hit women
Suba Ude makes waves in Los Angeles, oceans apart
December 26, 2004: The sun was bright and the sea, calm. But within a
few seconds the bright and beautiful picture was torn by monstrous waves
banishing thousands of men, women and children who bundled up their
tattered hopes to welfare camps.
Thousands of women were rendered destitute in the greatest ever
natural calamity to hit Sri Lanka. Most of
Thousands of women waiting for a bright ray of hope
Tsunami victims who benefitted by Suba Ude with Co-founder
Colourful pieces of handicrafts by Suba Ude women
them had lost all hope of salvation.
But a ray of hope dawned when Heather Goodwin, a designer from Los
Angeles along with another American aid worker, Stephanie Bleyer stepped
in to make their mornings - and days - brighter.
The project Suba Ude (Good Morning) started in Matara in February
2005, providing physical, creative and emotional projects for persons
living in transitional camps, focusing on psychosocial needs beyond
food, shelter and medicine.
Suba Ude has built playgrounds, produced marionette shows, painted
murals, set up child friendly spaces and sewing centres for mothers,
taught swimming classes, and organised sports and arts days.
And Suba Ude’s focus turned to opening up new avenues for 25 tsunami
affected women to stand on their on feet with courage and determination
thereby ushering in a new life for their families.
Sustainable creative projects began with the setting up of a sewing
collective for these tsunami-affected women.
Under the guidance of Goodwin, who formerly worked in Los Angeles as
a stylist and costume designer, the seamstresses began creating Monkbags
-carried by Buddhist monks.
Today, the group has expanded their offerings to five different bag
designs including yoga and beach bags. Their skills have also crossed
over into garments like dresses, pants and Indian-style blouses.
Not only has the collective created an income and business from where
there was none, but it has often served as an unofficial support group
for its members.
Explains Goodwin, “We were making bags and making money, but in the
same regard it was a bunch of women that had a terrible thing happen to
them and they were bonding through it.
A lot of them said that the friendships they have made are lifelong
There have been emotional stories of overcoming fear and succumbing
to loss, and then this beautiful twist of fate of their lives changing
with the whole new idea of work and the idea of improving their
lifestyle through the Monkbag project.
However, I just returned from Sri Lanka a few weeks ago and I found
the general consensus was that even with all the aid they received [from
relief organizations or the Government], they are still not living up to
the same level of quality of life before the tsunami.”
Recently a sample sale open to the public for the cooperative of the
tsunami-affected seamstresses in Matara, took place at a private
residence in Venice, Los Angeles.
Hosted by Suba Ude co-founder Heather Goodwin, the sale celebrated
the rural livelihood programme for these 25 tsunami-affected women who
have created an amazing collection of bags, pants, tops, dresses and
These items are not made in factories, but individually handcrafted
by each woman in her own home. The proceeds go towards sustaining the
cooperative back in Sri Lanka and supporting these women who continue to
struggle with rebuilding their lives.
Yet these women aren’t sitting around waiting for help to arrive.
“They have come to terms that their lives are forever changed,” notes
“They’ve stopped waiting for Government help or hoping that it will
be like it was before.”
The money from the sale will affect the lives of these women in ways
beyond simply buying extra food or fixing up the house.
“One woman told me her baby’s arm wasn’t working, so after two months
she made enough money to pay for a doctor to help her baby,” Goodwin
“Another woman said they were able to pay for a special course for
her son so he could learn a trade. One girl told me she was secretly
buying a piece of land because her husband was abusive and she planned
to leave him.
Or it’s even a girl who had never bought herself something her entire
life and used some of her earnings to buy herself a gold bracelet. It’s
amazing to hear how all this has impacted their lives.”
Unmask your beauty
Facial masks for a glowing skin
What is your skin type? Get a head start on the road to a dear
complexion by understanding the basics:
* Oily skin usually has a shiny surface, visible pores and is prone
* Dry skin often feels taut, slightly rough and tends to chap and
* Combination skin is oily at the T-zone (the forehead, nose and
chin) and drier on the cheeks.
* Sensitive skin is thin, delicate and easily irritated.
* Break two large bananas, toss into a blender along with half of the
peel and one tablespoon of raw honey. Blend it, pat on, let dry for 20
* Mix equal proportions of honey, fresh cream, or oats and almond
paste. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes.
* Peel and pit an avocado, blend with one tablespoon of raw honey.
Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.
Oily Skin Masks
* Wash and core two crisp apples, but do not peel, blend the whole
thing. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes.
Splash on with cool water.
* Wash a big, ripe tomato and blend. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes,
splash off with cool water.
Two nourishing masks for all skin types:
* Blend two egg yolks, two tablespoons of honey, three drops of
almond oil. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.
* Grind half a cup of yellow mustard seeds, adding 2 litres of water
in it. Also grind in a few rose petals. Apply on skin. Let dry for 20
minutes. Rinse well.
One Clarifying facial mask, good
for all skins
(to be used occasionally):
This does with gentle natural enzymes what skin-slouching creams,
peelers and exfoliating lotions do with chemical - it removes dead, dry
skin cells on the surface to expose fresh clear skin.
* Peel a ripe banana and puree in the blender. Pat on the fruit, let
dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.
Two cleansing and bleaching masks (for faded, end of summer tans as
well as winter-drab or season-change sallow skin)
* Add the juice of two lemons to one cup of buttermilk. blend, pat
on, let dry for 20 minutes. Splash off with
* Liquefy one whole lemon (washed, not peeled) and half an orange
(washed, not peeled) in the blender, add one cup of plain yoghurt.
blend, pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.
Here are a few more any-time masks
* For a glowing skin, cucumber mixed with fresh coconut water gives
* use mashed bananas and strawberries as a pack to freshen up the
*For curing pimples, apply a mixture of turmeric and sandalwood on
Potato Leek and Spinach Soup
* 2 Tablespoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups cubed raw potatoes
* 1 leek, chopped, white and green parts
* 1 small garlic clove, minced
* 8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 (6 oz) bag baby spinach, rolled and cut into strips
* 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, choppedSalt and pepper to taste
Saute potatoes, leeks and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat
in a large pot about five minutes, but do not brown. Reduce heat, and
simmer 30-40 minutes.
Carefully puree soup in blender or with hand blender in pot until
smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Add nutmeg and stir and then remove
Pour cream into bowl, slowly adding two cups of hot soup to warm
cream. Stir this mixture back into soup pot. Add spinach just before
Notes: Shredded cheese sprinkled on top makes it more yummy. Number
of servings: 6-8
MBBS, MD (Medicine)
In this article I explain how the neck works and the common causes of
neck pain and related conditions. I describe simple ways of dealing with
neck pain as well as the main medical and complementary treatments.
Non-specific neck pain
Many people develop a stiff and painful neck for no obvious reason.
It may happen after sitting in a draught or after a minor twisting
injury, for example while gardening. The underlying cause for this type
of neck pain is not fully understood, so it is called ‘non-specific neck
Having non-specific neck pain does not mean that your neck is damaged
and often it happens in people whose necks would appear completely
normal under an x-ray. It is the most common type of neck pain and often
disappears after a few days.
With everyday use over many years the discs and the facet joints
become worn. This wear varies from person to person. The discs become
thinner and this causes the spaces between the vertebrae to become
narrower. Also, ‘spurs’ of bone, known as osteophytes, form at the edges
of the vertebrae and the facet joints.
In a way this is a particular form of osteoarthritis but it is known
as ‘cervical spondylosis’. These changes may also occur at the bottom of
the spine where they are known as ‘lumbar spondylosis’. These conditions
should not be confused with ankylosing spondylitis, where inflammation
in the spine can cause the bones of the spine to fuse together.
The abnormalities found in cervical and lumbar spondylosis can be
seen on x-rays and are present in almost everyone by the age of 65.
However, many people have no neck pain even though quite significant
changes can be seen on their x-rays.
When these changes do cause pain it may come either from the linings
of worn joints or from stretched ligaments. Occasionally bulging discs
or osteophytes pinch the nerve roots and this causes pain or numbness
that travels into the arm. If the vertebral artery is pinched, this
reduces the blood supply to the area of the brain that controls balance
and this may lead to dizziness.
Rarely an extra rib (cervical rib) can cause partial blockage of the
blood supply to the arms, resulting in pain and numbness in the hands.
Very rarely, in severe spondylosis, the spinal cord can be squeezed,
which causes weakness and numbness in the arms and legs.
This type of injury often follows a rear-end collision in a car. In
this type of collision, first the body is carried forward and the head
flips backwards. Then, as the body stops, the head is thrown forwards.
Following a whiplash injury there is often a delay before the pain and
Although whiplash can badly damage your neck, the majority of people
who suffer these accidents do not have major damage. In most cases
injuries feel better within a few weeks or months. Seat belts and
properly adjusted headrests in cars have significantly reduced the
damage from whiplash injuries.
to be continued
(The writer is consultant
Rheumatalogist, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital)
Asian women break silence on violence
Women around the globe experience various facets of violence.
Character assassination, stigmatisation,
Dr. Vasanti Rajendran
Ram Kumari Jhakri
threats and coercion, murder and physical assault are the most
common types.Women activists, political and socialrepresentatives from
South Asia; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan.
Nepal and Sri Lanka mobilized on a common platform in Kathmandu to
break silence on this issue.’Invisible Faces of Violence on Women in
Politics: Breaking the Silence’ forum from September 18 to 20 discussed
various aspects to the matter and explore strategies to create new path
that future women leaders can walk along.
Here are certain observations by participants.
“Women first of all need to be self-confident. They need to be aware
of their own
Participants of the forum
strengths and go forward with their agenda.Also women have to
actively create an environment congenial for their growth.Women should
not forget the strength inherent in them,” India’s Human Resource
Development State Minister D. Purandeswari said.
“Women need to be deconstructed into separate ethnic, religious and
linguistic communities to properly study the issue of violence against
women in politics,” Researcher Luxshi Vimalarajah from Sri Lanka said.
“Process of discussion and sharing of our thoughts should go on. We
have to identify the loophole and gaps. This type of issue should be
raised considering from local framework which has to reach the
international level,” Barriter-at-law, Tania Amir from Bangladesh said.
“Code ofConduct of the Election Commission should be made women
sensitive as millions of grassroots women are entering the political
arena,” an academic Dr. Vasanti Rajendran of India observed.
“Women not have to face the physical assault but mental violence as
well. Men do not consider women capable enough to be their competitors.
Women in politics had to abandon good positions in politics because
she is a woman,” Student Leader Ram Kumari Jhakri from Nepal said.