The Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who underwent training in tailoring and given free sewing machines are looking for work orders from the Social Welfare Department for making school uniforms for students of the State.

As part of welfare assistance given by various departments, the Social Welfare department had distributed sewing machines to 66 women in the Mandapam camp. Forty-seven of them registered themselves with the department, seeking work orders for stitching school uniforms.

“The work order will be of great help to the refugees to make some additional income,” K. Benedict Dharmaroy, Special Deputy Collector, Rehabilitation, Mandapam camp, said on Tuesday.

He said that all the welfare assistance distributed for the people of the State were being extended to the refugees also. After some initial hiccups, they were given Pongal gift hampers, announced by the State government, he said. They were also given ration cards to get essential commodities from the fair price shop established inside the refugee camp, Mr. Dharmaroy added.

Presently, 650 families, comprising 2,208 members, including 844 women and 565 children, were residing in the camp, he said adding that more and more families were showing interest in leaving the camp for their native places in the island nation.

“Last month, seven families left for Jaffna and this month five families have applied for exit permit,” he said. The camp had as many as 16,600 refugees in 2006 and there has been no arrival since 2010, he said.

The inmates were allowed to leave the camp in the morning to take some odd jobs and return in the evening. Men go out for fishing and construction work, he said.

After he declared the camp plastic free, inmates started avoiding use of plastic materials and carry bags inside the camp, Mr. Dharmaroy said.

  • The work orders are of great help to the refugees to make some additional income

  • More and more families are showing interest in leaving the camp for Sri Lanka