The Institute of Social Development has been lobbying and advocating for equitable rights and justice for the Malaiyaga Thamilar community since its inception in 1991. The Institute of Social Development has executed a wide range of awareness programs to empower the marginalized Malaiyaga Thamilar community.
The Malaiyagam 200 event organized by the Institute of Social Development commemorated the 200 years history of the Malaiyaga Thamilar (Hill Country Tamil), from May 19 to 21, 2023 in Nuwara Eliya. The Malaiyagam 200 event intended to enlighten the national and international communities about the plight of the Malayaga Thamilar in order to foster solidarity in their struggle for justice.
The event was an enlightening and exciting experience, featuring an exhibition of historical documents, art, culture, and social fabric of the Malaiyaga Thamilar. The community’s contribution to the social, economic, and political fabric of Sri Lanka was highlighted during the event.
Women empowerment is fundamental to overcome most of the sociocultural and political issues in the plantation as same as in any vulnerable societies. ISD place empowering women and girls at the center of the programs. The culture beliefs are the main causes for the increased vulnerability of women in Sri Lanka. The man dominated society and families are provided awareness on inequality and benefits of equal opportunities. A crucial part of this involves men and boys in addressing inequality and valuing and supporting women and girls. We ensure, providing opportunities for their advancement and ensuring their voices are heard.
Poverty persists when poor people have little control over the forces that affect them, and lack the knowledge, opportunities and confidence to speak up for themselves. We work at the grassroots level to empower poor and marginalized people – especially women and girls – to know and act on their rights, have their say and hold to account those in authority. At the same time, we influence those in power – such as governments, traditional leaders, and the private sector – to be more responsible, responsive, and accountable. We create spaces where the groups can communicate, negotiate, and find solutions.
While we have formed the disaster management committees to quickly respond when disaster strikes, we also focus on strengthening the capacity of poor people in order to absorb shocks. With climate change, natural disasters and conflict posing which increase uncertainty, supporting people to cope with and respond to new hazards and opportunities were never paid enough attention. If we do not address this, then we will be facing a growing number of humanitarian crises in future as climate change continues to affect the poorest, displaced communities and destabilized societies. Our aim is to build resilience into all our programmes.
In this context the ILO declared a Convention on to address workplace sexual harassment in 2019. The convention on Violence and harassment (C190) was adopted by all the countries. However, among the 193 countries up to now, only seven countries ratified this convention. Although two years have gone by, the trade unions of Sri Lanka have not taken any step to lobby the government to ratify the convention. In the other side the working women of the country are unaware of this vital convention which was declared in 2019.
In this context, in 2020 as a right based organization, the Institute of Social Development (ISD) initiated an awareness programme in collaboration with the IFWEA.