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Hear My VOICE: Ganeshwary Santhanam ~ “I am blessed to be alive”

Like many Sri Lankans returning to their homes, Ganeshwary hopes for a better future

She joined the movement - branded a terrorist group by many - and left during the ceasefire, got married to another fighter and gave birth to a son, before being pressured to rejoin the LTTE in 2006. Like thousands of Sri Lankans returning to their homes today, she hopes to build a new future.

“I joined the LTTE almost 10 years ago to fight for the freedom of the Tamils. My parents were not happy about my decision. I dropped out of school due to the war. My childhood dream had always been to become a Bharathanatya dancer, but my dream was never fulfilled.

“After serving in the movement for nearly 10 years, I left the LTTE during the ceasefire time in 2002. I got married to an LTTE cadre, and gave birth to a son. We were a happily married couple.

“But in 2006, that life of normality was to change when I was pressured to join up yet again. During that time, I was given rigorous training along with other women in the village and proved myself a better fighter than most.

“At the same time, it was very difficult because I was worried about my family. I always thought if I die who will look after my family? Memories of my family were always in my mind when I was on the battlefield. On the other hand, I did not have a choice to decide this on my own and I continued to fight. I prayed to God to save me and let me live for my husband and son. Later, my family and I would become displaced from our village. I gave birth to another son and am currently jobless, as is my husband.

“The war was terrible – so much suffering and loss. I want to educate my children and make them better citizens. I want to forget the bitter past and forgive others and lead a peaceful life.

“I have fought in the battlefield, but I managed to survive without any injury, while many of my fellow fighters died on the spot. It’s a miracle of God. I am blessed to be alive.”

She was featured in a photo journal posted on BBC website on 9th of May 2006. To view, please click on


nilima's picture

hey Dushi, Thank you so much

hey Dushi,

Thank you so much for posting it here. There are many stories which are not heard and not written in the site where everybody can hear but its so wonderful to read it here. When i read about her i remember many women here in my country who was involved in internal war and who are jobless at this time.

May all the sisters around the world get employed and empowered!

SLaw's picture

Thank you for sharing this,

Thank you for sharing this, Dushi. Yet another reminder that the struggles of women around the world are many and varied, even though some receive more press time than others. Some lose their lives in the throes of labor; some, to the heat of day as they toil on farms; others, to violence; yet others, to the battle-field, fighting for what they believe in. I was struck rather hard by the images in the photo journal you referenced. Let us continue to strive to bring our world to a place where women will cradle in their arms their young ones or the tools of their trade, rather than weapons of defense.


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