Story of Judemary Nagarasa

Human Touch Story - Judemary Nagarasa

Judemary Nagarasa was born in year 1995 in a remote area in the district of Mannar in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, during the drawn-out severe war in Sri Lanka. It was one of the peak times of intensified war activities that were in operation in the North and East.

The war situation naturally caused extensive damage to people, making them war victims. It was a time of horror where people’s lives were shadowed with uncertainties. Civilians lost all their belongings including family, house, wealth, and property. The war situation drove them to wander in exile where they had to experience endless calamities, disasters, catastrophes.

It was in this war-torn area that Judemary happened to begin her infancy and childhood. She too was living in a camp meant for refugees with her helpless mother. The war situation was so intensified, that Judemary’s mother was killed in a bomb explosion, while running for shelter with many civilians, to evade a terrorist attack.

Judemary was only one year old when she lost her mother during the war. Thereafter she was taken away by her grandmother for adoption. Judemary grew up with her grandmother in another camp where all war victims were sheltered for safety. Her grandmother managed to sustain Judemary with many hardships. It was under these circumstances, that Judemary began her schooling at Hindu Aramba Vidyalaya in Kilinochchci. 

With all pressure looming around, Judemary was able to cope up with her rudimentary education. Judemary lived in the refugee camp for 12 years until she studied up to grade seven in school. Once again another catastrophe befell her and her grandmother, when the war affected civilians were dispatched to various places, as the war was increasing immensely. The refugee camp they were living in was closed, due to the war, and those lived in were dispersed to places distant.

The grandmother brought Judemary to her hometown in Vanni. Her second school was Kanakarajanjulam Maha Vidyalaya there. She continued her schooling still with difficulties.  It was by this time that the civil war came to an end. It was during this time, that SOS Children’s Villages began its Temporary Care Shelter at Chettikulum, especially to sustain children, badly affected during the war. Judemary was brought into SOS Temporary Care Centre at Chetticulum in year 2009, where she was able to continue her schooling. This was a turning point in her life.

Gradually her fears began to disappear, and hopes were restored, and her period of exile and tragedy began to end. This was the time when the new SOS Children’s Village in Jaffna in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka was established. Judemary found her new home in SOS thence.

She was very happy to have a new home, a caring mother, and good brothers and sisters around her to begin her life with new expectations. She started concentrating on her academics, being a new child at SOS Children’s Village in Jaffna. She was admitted to St Charl’s Maha Vidyalaya in Jaffna, where she studied up to her General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) Examination. The prevailed ethnic conflict, and civil unrest which have become footnotes of history now, had never been an obstacle for Mary to make her way through. With the help and guidance, of her mother, elders, and teachers, Judemary prepared herself for the G.C.E. (Ordinary Level) Examination. Having done her school examinations, Mary took a new step in life by deciding to give priority to the promptings of the spirit that glimmered within her, to commit herself for a vocational training endeavor to mold and form herself to the ideal, she has been aspiring to, as a teen for some time.   
   
Judemary came to SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala in June 2014, with the determination of initiating herself to join the Baker and Culinary Course at SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala. The whole atmosphere was foreign to her. Not only the language, but also the entire culture, life patterns of people, their religion, occupation, life styles, and situations were very different from the people that Judemary had encountered before, as a teenager. Still her determination persuaded her to rationalize her inner desire to somehow materialize the very vocation she had opted for, amidst certain difficulties and obstacles. Language barriers, cultural differences, different religious sentiments, became immaterial to her, as she went on with her training program at SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala.
                                      
Her past reminiscences of doom, seem to have been replaced by hopes, serenity and expectations that will in time, envisage career stability in her endeavors. Her accommodative sense in the new setup is commendable, as she is very much accepted by her colleagues.    
                                    
Judemary expressed herself thus: ‘My childhood memories are very vague. There were reasons for that. Anyway, my past had been very bitter and horrendous. I had been born during the war time in my country. I grew amidst crisis and endless tensions. I did not understand anything. It was refugee camps that had become my homes time to time. I lost my mother because of the war.

My homes had been camps where refugees and war victims were living, which I later understood. Still the memories were blurred. Somehow there had been some fortune, because I was privileged to enter school, as a child. I was able to learn my rudiments there, of course with difficulties and various sorts of strains and pressures. Time passed this way. My home at Chettikulum SOS Centre rejuvenated my childhood sentiments, and rekindled my desires that were far from realization before. My new family at SOS Children’s Village in Jaffna made me what I am today.

I came to SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala with the guidance of my elders. I enrolled myself to the Baker and Culinary Course that was very much profitable and enterprising. I was able to learn cuisine and culinary, especially in areas of dough and mixtures, savories and confectioneries, pastries, pizzas, and other flour stuffed snacks, Eastern and Western. Basic training, hygienic concerns in bakery functions, cleaning and storing, hosting methods, food preparations, are focal areas in the training program that I am engaged in.  I am successfully completing my course end of this year, after which I will go for my on the job training to a reputed place. Thereafter I hope to face my due course assessment conducted by the government, where I will be receiving a valid certificate, for my proficiency. I am indebted to my SOS Family for making me a promising youth’ Judemary finally said.
 
Anton Narangoda
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