Our team
 
Appeal for Notebook distribution for refugees
Educating the next generation has always been one of the key concerns of Organisation for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation.
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The cultural affinities between Tamil Nadu our closest neighbour and Sri Lanka are many but little is known of the religious ties which bound the two countries between the early years of the Christian era and the 14th century AD, during which time Buddhism was prevalent in South India.
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Exhibition
 Our team
 
FOUNDER
Advocate. S.C.Chandrahasan is the son of the iconic Tamil Politician S.J.V Chelvanayakam, (Popularly known as the Mahatma Gandhi of Sri Lanka and Father of the Tamils “Thantai Chelva”) President of the Federal party (later renamed TULF and subsequently TNA). S.C.Chandrahasan is the Founder and Chief Functionary of OfERR. Hailing from an extremely privileged background as scion of one of Sri Lanka’s leading political families, and married to Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan nee Naganathan, daughter of Federal Party Stalwart and Leader, Senator Dr. Elangai Murugesu Vijayaretnam Naganathan, (M.P.) Chandrahasan began his career as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. But his passion for the Tamil cause and its people lead him to embark into Politics by joining the TULF (Federal party) and becoming the legal Secretary to the TULF. Later as war replaced politics and violence replaced SJV Chelvanayakkam’s non violent struggle, He came to India and established OfERR in 1984. Though he lead a life of privilege far removed from the refugees he now works for and works with, S.C.Chandrahasan has donned his Fathers mantle, and now works tirelessly to serve his people by Humanitarianism and Peace building. OfERR stands for Hope and Peace.
 
 

 

OfERR IS A GRASS ROOT ORGANIZATION, WE HAVE SO LITTLE YET SO MUCH. VERY LITTLE IN TERMS OF QUALIFICATIONS, BUT SO MUCH IN TERMS OF THE WEALTH OF HUMAN CAPITAL. MOST OF OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE SRI LANKAN REFUGEES AND INDIAN TSUNAMI VICTIMS EMPOWERED TO BECOME VOLUNTEERS. WE HAVE OVER 600 REFUGEE VOLUNTEERS; WE’VE CHOSEN A FEW WITH THE MOST INTERESTING STORIES:

S.SELVARAJA
Selvaraj used to be a Policeman in the Police Department in Mannar, Sri Lanka. He came to India by boat in 1990, as a refugee. “Because of the constant fighting, life was so insecure, I would see my neighbor in the morning and say hi, but I never knew if when I came back from work if he’d still be alive”.
He joined OfERR on the 1st of January 1990, and has since received training in Counseling, Leadership & Communication, Trauma Healing & Psycho-social Analysis, Stress Management, Training of Trainers, Singing and Street Plays. "OfERR has helped me to enhanced the hidden skills and abilities within me”. He is currently a Trainer in Human Resource Development (Counseling, Trauma Healing & Psycho-social Analysis, Leadership and communications) at OfERR, and manages the Sports groups and Youth Comities. Selveraj also has a soulfully beautiful singing voice, he sings with the OfERR “paatu kullu” (singing group) that has been instrumental in OfERR’s Adovocacy work.
His ambition in life is simple, “to be united with my family in Sri Lanka”.

THENMOZHI
Thena as she is called is the head of OfERR’s women empowerment Unit, she is also one of the most empowered women in the refugee community, fearless, confident, independent and an inspiration to the refugee and tsunami affected women she seeks to empower. Thena, a nursery school teacher in Sri Lanka, came to India in July 1989 as a refugee. Her journey was terrifying as she crossed the rough seas, first from her home town of Velanai (an island off the coast of Jaffna) to the main Jaffna pennensula, and then from there, after a month of waiting for a passage on a boat, crossed the choppy seas in a over crowded fishing trawler to Thondi in India. “we couldn’t live there, the army had surrounded Jafna, too many innocent civilians were being killed… The boat journey was so frightening, I thought we would die mid sea…. We couldn’t get a boat out of Jafna, because there was a sea of refugees all waiting desperately to flee, waiting on the coast for a boat, and when a boat came into sight everyone would run to catch it, my parents were old… it took us a month, finally we arrived in India in a Muslim village called Thondi. They were generous and kind, giving us food and dry clothes. We then went to the refugee camp in Madapam and registered ourselves. Adopting to Refugee life was very hard for us”. Thena joined OfERR in 1990 and was put in charge of registering and logging ingoing and outgoing letters. She was given training in Women Empowerment, Gender Balance, Family Violence, Leadership & Communication, Counseling, Peace Education, Computer and  Management, Planning - Monitoring and Evaluation. She has now evolved into a dynamic leader and trainer, and has to her credit imparted Women Empowerment training to 1500 women, Built 650 Self Help Groups and Empowered Indian Tsuami affected women through OfERR’s Tsunami programs. Thena’s ambition is “To make the entire refugee community into resource persons, with the view of preparing to rebuild our homeland”.

AMALAUTPAVATHAS
Thas was born in 1981 in Mirusuvil village, Jaffna. His family made the crossing to India in 1990, where they moved between refugee camps before settling in Boganallur camp in Nellai district. After experiencing family problems, Thas left the camp in 1999, taking the opportunity to work with OfERR at the Nallyan farm near Chennai. After two years at Nallayan working as a poultry assistant, Thas joined the OfERR Head Office in Chennai, initially dealing with petty cash. A year later he became a District Volunteer for the Chennai region, organising camp committees and co-ordinating OfERR programmes in the camps. He also began to study hard, gaining several certificates in computing; he is now in the second year of his degree course, Computer Application, at Madras University. In addition to his studies, Thas has risen to two important roles within the organisation: Unit 1 (Camp) Co-ordinator and Assistant Computer Section Co-ordinator.

JOHN MANOHARAN SAMUEL
Samuel grew up in the hill-country of Sri Lanka. In 1983 he was working as an officer in a textile mill near Kandy when ethnic violence erupted in the country. Hearing news of threats by mill workers to attack their Tamil colleagues, Samuel went into hiding with his wife and two young boys. In 1977, facing similar danger, Samuel had been protected by Sinhalese friends, but this time Sinhalese helping Tamils were themselves targets for attack. Added to this vulnerability, the fear and distress suffered by the children – aged five and three – persuaded Samuel and his wife to seek refuge in India. The family arrived in July 1984 and settled in Madras. Samuel worked for 12 years with an ecumenical group, providing support to Sri Lankan refugees, before joining OfERR in 1996. He is Administrative Assistant at the Head Office in Chennai. His wife gained a degree in India and is now a high school teacher, while his children are employed in mobile phone and manufacturing companies respectively.

PATHMANATHAN RASAIYA   
Pathmanathan grew up in the coastal village of Viswamadu in Mullaitivu district, Sri Lanka. Bombing by the Sri Lankan military threatened the lives of the villagers, and caused the closure of the local school. In 1990, aged 14, Pathmanathan fled with his mother, father and two brothers, making the five-hour crossing from Mannar to Rameswaram. In India the family found safety and the opportunity for the boys to resume their education. For three years they were transferred from camp to camp by the Tamil Nadu government before settling in Kondam camp, Tiruvanamalai. In 1996 Pathmanathan began college, studying BSE Chemistry. During his three years of study he instigated the first refugee District Student Forum, in Tiruvanamalai district. He became actively involved in creating similar forums across Tamil Nadu, and these student groupings are thriving today. In recognition of his work, OfERR invited Pathmanathan to join the organisation in 1999, on completion of his degree. He began in the Education section before becoming a District Volunteer for the Chennai region. From there he took on the role of Chennai Regional Co-ordinator. Now, however, he has taken the position of Head Office Education Co-ordinator, overseeing all the educational programmes conducted by OfERR across Tamil Nadu. In the meantime Pathmanathan has continued to improve his knowledge and qualifications; having completed an MA in Sociology in 2003, he is currently working on an MPhil, focusing on the situation of Ceylon refugee students in India. He married in 2005 and his family now lives in the large Gummidipundi camp near Chennai.