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An All-Too-Real Reality

UNANIMA International intern Sr. Shiroma Kurumbalapitiya, SDS, gave a presentation to fellow NGO members on her work in Sri Lanka and gave a compelling account of her experience working with a female migrant in Jordan.

In 2007, Shiroma met Ms. Shriyani Kande, 33, a fellow Sri Lankan, in Jordan. Shriyani’s story began when she embarked on a journey to work in a factory with hopes of making money to send home to her family. Due to poor working conditions and treatment, she ran away from the factory. Feeling alone, with nowhere to go, she encountered a woman on the street, Pushpa, who promised to help her. Lured by money and security, Shriyani joined her.

Her dreams were soon shattered when Shriyani was told her new work would be in a brothel, where she was to live and serve. Fearing for her life and being threatened with abuse, she stood up to Pushpa. What began as a struggle, ended with Shriyani calling the police to report the accidental death of Pushpa. Shriyani was sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder. She was not given appropriate legal aid or language translation, and has been separated from her family ever since.

Shiroma visited Shriyani in prison and communicated with her family in Sri Lanka, trying to reassure each person that somehow, some way, Shriyani would be freed. Shiroma, and the Salvatorian Sisters, have been working with the Jordan community and Shriyani’s relatives to make appeals to the president, Foreign Bureau and to various offices in Sri Lanka and Jordan for necessary legal assistance. Unfortunately, to date, Shriyani remains in prison.

We thank Shiroma for sharing this story of her mission work and for sharing with us on the struggles she has witnessed.