JAFFNA PROJECT – Rose travelled to Sri Lanka in 2014 with her sons Solly aged 6, Romie aged 5 months and a friend to help out. While in the UK, I had corresponded with JSAC, (Jaffna Social Action Centre) and organised a visit to Jaffna with plans to paint a mural and run a portrait workshop. On my arrival, Mary from JSAC helped me make contact with the relevant people for the mural workshop at a school and organised my working in one of the project’s safe houses.
Jaffna is a Tamil Hindu area. The Tamil Tigers fought the Sri Lankan army from 1983 to 2009 for an independent Tamil state in the north eastern end of the Island. There were, between 80,000 and a 100,000 casualties. Both sides have been accused of war crimes.
“In February 2014, Rose ran a workshop on portraiture with the women in our Safe House (for SGBV survivors). Rose’s attitude and approach was excellent: always sensitive to the needs of the women and what trauma they might have experienced. Although Rose didn’t speak Tamil, she had no difficulty communicating with the women, aided by her two children who quickly broke down the social barriers, and helped to establish an atmosphere of warmth and safety.
The women all enjoyed the workshop; none of them had tried portraiture before, and they found it a fun and meaningful experience. The safe house staff still talk about Rose’s workshop and her children – they would love her to come back…but for longer. She has much to offer.” Mary Cuttle, Development Consultant, Jaffna Social Action Center, Jaffna, Sri Lanka