From heartbreak to hope

"I’ve faced many challenges in my life. My husband was an alcoholic and left me years ago to raise seven children. At that time, I used to travel almost 20 kilometres to work in the rice field for hours for only two rupees.

Life was really difficult, but I was determined to create a good life for me and my children. I did everything I could for them. I worked hard. I sold my goats and bought a cow instead, selling the milk at the market to earn a bit more money. Then I started a vegetable garden to cover the rest of our needs.

When I had extra vegetables, I gave them to people because I think it’s good to be generous. I tried to raise my children to have good values and to do the right thing. The more I earned, the more cows I was able to purchase. At one point, I had 20 cows! We were finally doing well.

body-image-1-(2).jpgA cow from Tearfund's partner's post-war dairy project.

 

Then the civil war started. We had to flee for our lives and everything we had was ransacked or destroyed. During the war, I was injured and transferred to the hospital for emergency care. I saw so many wounded people there—shell wounds in their hands and legs, just like me. I still have a piece of that shell in my body. My body has healed but that bit of the war remains with me.

Two of my children died in the war. One of my older boys was shot and I didn’t know if he was alive or dead for a long time. I felt like a madwoman searching for my child. When I finally learned he had died, I was completely devastated.

When I finally returned to my village, all my cows had been stolen. Tearfund’s partner, Yugashakthi, heard about my dairy farming skills and gave me my first cow. With that cow, I started my business.

Later, I received a second cow, and that is enough for me to live on. I named them Poochi and Soowapi. I take good care of them, making sure there is a fire for them at night to keep the mosquitoes away. If I’m away from the house for too long, I can hear them calling for me in the distance to come home.

I am very grateful for these cows. At first, they provided me with enough milk just for myself. Eventually, they produced enough milk to start selling the surplus and make enough money to cover my daily needs.

My children are all grown now, and I enjoy living on my own and being able to provide for myself. I don’t want to rely on others to live—I prefer to be independent. Poochi and Soowapi make that possible."

Thilliampillai-(2).JPG
Thilliampillai.
 

Turning pain into good

Ten years ago, Tearfund started the programme with only eight farmers. Today, we have more than 4,500 farmers, 7,500 children, and 1,500 women involved!

They are starting successful dairy farming businesses, saving for the future, and participating in youth groups. They are being empowered through knowing and exercising their rights. Their stories continue and reflect the goodness of God—a God who can transform even the most devastating of circumstances for our good.

This spring, churches all over New Zealand are raising money to help people like Thilliampillai. They do this by getting together with friends, family and their church to have a night of quizzing fun and raising money. We'd love for you to join us.

 

Join the Big Quiz Night.

 

Sign up as a host today


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