Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, lingual religious and cultural country that emerged from a 30-year civil conflict. Recognition of the language rights of women and men who speak Sinhala and Tamil is critical to improving socio-economic stability.
Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the National Languages Equality Advancement Project (NLEAP) works closely with key government institutions and civil society organizations to promote and protect the language rights of all citizens by implementing the Official Languages Policy of Sri Lanka.
NLEAP recently supported Viluthu, an organization that empowers local communities and builds the capacity of Community-Based Organizations (CBO), to produce and develop a compelling series of videos demonstrating the impact of Language Rights and how it improves livelihoods.
Sarala’s Story | Puttalam | North Western Province
When a fight broke out between two groups in her neighbourhood, Sarala immediately called 119. The first responders couldn’t understand what she was saying in Tamil, and as a result, the police arrived too late. The delay resulted in many people being admitted to the hospital injured or stabbed. Language was a barrier to Sarala and her community receiving the help they needed in time.
Sabriya’s Story | Puttalam | North Western Province
Sabriya is a member of her rural development authority. Listen to Sabriya as she shares how Language Rights Violations adversely impacted the loan a fellow member received when he applied for a low-income business support loan. The Viluthu training that Sabriya received on language rights advocacy equipped her with the skills necessary to gather evidence and address the violation, which paved the way for her fellow member to receive a fair share of the loan.
Chandika’s Story | 5th Mile Post | Trincomalee | Eastern Province
Listen to Chandika as she shares how the Language Rights training she received from Viluthu helped her to get the road in her village built.
Viluthu organizes training and forums for Civil Society Organizations to engage with Public Service Institutions to address language rights violations. The training equips community-based organization members like Chandanika with the skills to gather evidence and ensure accountability for public service delivery.
Nizamiya’s Story | Trincomalee | Eastern Province
Social Activist Nizamiya shares how Language Rights violations in banking, education and health services impact her community. Viluthu hosts events where local communities can connect with relevant Government Officials to address such Language Rights Issues. Nizamiya explains how the events create a platform for community members to raise and resolve issues they face because of Language Rights violations in these sectors. Viluthu builds the capacity of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) that empower local communities.
Nanthini’s Story | Trincomalee | Eastern Province
When Nanthini took her little baby to the local hospital for her first immunization, the staff could not communicate with Nanthini in the language of her choice – Tamil. Because of the miscommunication, Nathini’s baby missed her first immunization. The language limitations of the hospital staff put Nanthini’s baby’s health at risk. The language rights training conducted by Viluthu gave Nanthini and her community the knowledge, skills and confidence to advocate for a Tamil Translator to be posted at the hospital that served their community. This training ensures that no other parent should endure the agonizing anxiety Nanthini suffered because of Language Rights violations.