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Government Gazette


Dawn of a new day and life for tsunami-hit women

Suba Ude makes waves in Los Angeles, oceans apart from Matara:

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 Heather Goodwin

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 friendships.

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 frocks.

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 Goodwin.

“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 explains.

“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.”

(Courtesy: www.laist.com)

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 to breakouts.

* Dry skin often feels taut, slightly rough and tends to chap and flake.

* 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.

Natural Masks

* 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 minutes.

* 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 cool water.

* 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 remarkable results.

* use mashed bananas and strawberries as a pack to freshen up the complexion.

*For curing pimples, apply a mixture of turmeric and sandalwood on the face.


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 from heat.

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 serving.

Notes: Shredded cheese sprinkled on top makes it more yummy. Number of servings: 6-8

Neck pain

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 pain’.

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.

Cervical spondylosis

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 stiffness start.

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,

Tania Amir

Dr. Vasanti Rajendran

Ram Kumari Jhakri

D. Purandeswari

 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.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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