The Government of Japan, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment launched a handloom production centre in Puthukudurippu, Batticaloa on Nov. 22.
The centre was launched under the project “Supporting the Socioeconomic Reintegration of Sri Lankan Migrant Workers Repatriated due to the COVID-19 Outbreak”, with funding support from the Government of Japan, to uplift the livelihoods of migrant returnees and host communities.
To overcome the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and build back better, a more migrant-inclusive sustainable reintegration response is essential to ensure that returnees recover from the impact of COVID-19 as well as optimize their contribution to Sri Lanka by engaging in a sustainable income generation activity.
Attending the inauguration, Ms. Kaori Imai from the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka said, on behalf of Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki that she was pleased to see that Japan’s assistance can be of help to the people in Batticaloa in gaining new skills and improving their lives, encouraging entrepreneurship and local industry.”
Andrew Gray, Deputy Chief of Mission to IOM Sri Lanka and Maldives, remarked on IOM’s “interest and capacity to support Sri Lanka’s strategic vision on labour and migration management” and that “IOM and partners will continue to work side by side to ensure that returnees reach levels of economic self-sufficiency, social stability within their communities, and psychosocial wellbeing that allow them to cope with (re)migration drivers.”
Also, in attendance at the inaugural launch in Batticaloa were Yamuna Perera, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, Mrs. Sutharshini Srikanth, the Additional District Secretary, Batticaloa and officials from the Batticaloa divisional secretariat.
The establishment of the handloom production centre is part of the 22 livelihood and infrastructure development projects planned across nine districts in Sri Lanka contributing to the ‘National COVID-19 Response Plan for Migrant Workers,’ developed by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment with technical support from IOM and ILO. The project aims to reduce further vulnerability of migrant returnees by supporting them to sustainably reintegrate to their communities through livelihood support, entrepreneurship, and skills development activities.