By: Iroshini Kalpage
Emerge Lanka Foundation Program Development Officer
A continutation of “her” story…
“It’s Thursday” Sharmila screamed early morning without getting out from her bed. I know it makes everybody happy. It’s the bead class. Actually in the morning session we learn about life skill lessons, in the evening we make necklaces and bracelets with beads. The class is run by a charity organization. The instructors are like my friends. I have never met people elder to me like that. When I was pregnant, as a teenage mother everybody looked at me like a creature. Someone who had done the worst thing in the world. Everybody advised me not to do any more “stupid things here after and be good”. In fact, I didn’t do anything wrong. One instructor of the Charity said to me “Chandima, everything is over now. Do not think it’s your fault. It’s our society’s fault. You are still a child. The society should protect the children. But unfortunately it has failed. So don’t dwell on this, it’s a waste of time.” It made me really happy. At least someone knows that I’m not a bad person. I didn’t do anything wrong. I always tried to help my family. I saved some money from selling leaves at the Pola and weekdays I helped my mom at her fruit stall. From that savings I opened two bank accounts for my little brother and sister, and I helped people who were really poor as well. At that time I was only 13 years old, not yet a woman. I had some boys to help me at Pola. They are same from my village. They used to call me “Malli” (meaning younger brother) because those days I was like a boy, with short hair, wearing shorts and T-shirts, actually no one could recognize that I was a girl. One day when I was at Pola Damith , one of my friends said “Malli” the leaf bundle is shaking. “Just get back. I’ll check it. Maybe it’s unbalanced” I ignored him. “There…see…get back Malli” he screamed! I was so shocked, I jumed to the other side with a scream. it’s a snake!!!!! If he didn’t see the snake I would have gone to the Heaven by this time. Things like that always kept our friendship so strong. The boys always helped me, took care of me. Pola day made me very happy. We earned money, and shared the money equally. Unfortunately after the tsunami came we couldn’t go to Pola. So I stayed at home and helped at my mother’s fruit stall. One bad day, my mother and I had an argument. She was so mad at me. Her eyes were red, and her face too. I couldn’t understand why she really disliked me. I really wanted to go to school. But I never mentioned it. Because, I knew all the economic problems at home. I wanted to help her. It seemed the more I tried to help, the more mistakes I made in her mind. Whenever we had a fight, my mother tells everything to my step-father and he starts screaming to me like a mad fellow. I hate it. Why he should know our problems. On that day I knew it was going to be a very bad situation when he comes. So I made a decision; I stepped out from the home. I was so hurt. to be continued……….