I am referring here to those who migrate from their villages to places like Biyagama, and Katunayake for work in some of the export industries, like garments and I talk with special reference to a discussion I had with a mental health Couselor, today, who looks after the welfare of girls working at a factory producing Cigars for export! YES CIGARS.
Here I will concentrate on the problem of females, some as young as 16 who come to work due to various reasons, including economic, but also having faced abuse or other bad experiences. Some have mothers who have gone to the Middle East to work and are left in the care of a father, and therefore runaway in some cases to the CITY. They can easily find work due to the 50,000+ vacancies in these economic zones, and then find themselves in a boarding house. Some are OK and others are anything but. There is an element of luck, and those who fall through the cracks face abuse. Their maturity and worldly wise outlook can save them from falling prey!
Being easily fooled and cheated some get in trouble, with no support system. The local Divisional Secretary and his staff, only help those on the Electoral Register and dependents. These people are INVISBLE to the state support system, and especially to the local Politicians who are the people who get involved in distributing the largesse, and can take corrective action. The politicians have NO USE for them, and do not offer any help. They do not form his voter base!
It must be remembered that this lifestyle where they only go back home once a year for the annual avurudu holiday of one week, can result in many completely losing their connection with their roots, and due to either problems they have got into where they work or at home, they become isolated, with their friends being only being those who stay with them.
It is vitally important that the BOI system, or at least the employers offer a permanent councilor to factories that have more than 100 employees, as I am sure their mental well being will result in improved productivity, and enlightened employers offer this service to their staff, to assist them in getting their lives in some kind of order. This should be made mandatory, however with the huge dearth of Councilors, one cannot force untrained people on delicate human beings, not quite ready to face the world.
The structured education system must open their eyes to what the world outside their homes is like, and in that sense prepare them for all eventualities! It’s a wicked world out there, and innocents are tasty fodder for the wicked!