Fishing community in Angulana- Western Province Sri Lanka
The End of October I revisited the fishing community in Angulana. (The fishing community which was captured in my first documentary film ‘Sea is our life’ in 2010) Even after 9 years, nothing has changed much. Their Life goes on. Even though the weather is not pleasing, they take risks to go for fishing, since there are no other options to survive. In addition to feeding their family members, there are endless debts to repay. Therefore, they go for fishing even in the month of dead (They called November as a month of dead and do not preferred to go for fishing).
These people find hard to save something since many of them were caught into the vicious cycle of loan which were given as personal loans or given by many different banks and micro finance companies. Many fishermen of the community still do not have their own fishing boats. They use someone else’s fishing boats that has to be borrowed by the agreement of sharing the daily harvest. Moreover, some people even borrow the other necessary equipment that is used for fishing, with similar type of agreement. The tragedy is the material that they get as donations such as boats, engines and fishing nets do not spend in an appropriate way. The poorest fishermen are grounded in the bottom line of poverty forever and they are facing lot of difficulties endless problems since there’s no proper policies or mechanism to enchase their livelihood.
The fishing community in Angulana has been living in that coastal belt more than three decades. During the many election, politicians visit them, make promises and simply forget them after the election. For example, their issue of housing is still unresolved. No government was capable enough even to analyze the problem properly. As many community members said, after their houses were washed away by the monsoon in 2010, some people were given houses from a housing scheme which is located right in front of their living premises. Some houses of the housing scheme were sold out to the people outside the community. But many of them those who lost their house were not given the houses, Instead Some families were given LKR 300 000 to build their houses elsewhere without giving them a land. Rest of the 41 families were given 41 houses in a mountain top in Nagoda – Kaluthara in Kaluthara district where the neighborhood is completely alien to the fishing community. They have not taken into consideration about their livelihood which force people to travel many kilometers to travel to the sea shore. Also, the constructions were not up to standard. The person whom I met said that his house was completely collapsed.
People still live in a temporary house at the sea shore even without proper facilities such as sanitation.
In addition, other related social issues are somewhat disturbing to enchase the quality of their lives. The school drop off rate is and early marriages are still quite high within the community. New generation do not prefer to choose fishing as their career instead they go for manual jobs or search for service base jobs upon their qualifications. Mean time some are trying to escape the country or to find the overseas jobs. Many women are risking their lives and go to middle east. Their kids are being abandoned and vulnerable. Without proper guidance younger generation are ending up with various antisocial practices such as alcohol and drugs addiction. This community are in a trap of social, cultural and economic poverty. Unfortunately they are pushing in to more marginalize and vulnerable community by the system itself.
housing at the beach
Note and Images by Waruni Anuruddhika
Canon 5 D Mark 111 / 24-70 mm © Waruni Anuruddhika Chandrasena
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