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Prepared to defend myself

I make palmyrah products to earn a living. I’m well-known in the area, for all the social work I’m involved in. When I go about on my errands, I take a knife with me. I do have the strength to stab a man if he tries anything funny, I am prepared to defend myself.

I work with a group of women and we go out at around 2 or 3 am to pick palmyrah seeds. The other women do not fear because I come along.

I had to go to work two weeks after my hysterectomy because I needed to feed my child. The doctor told me ‘do not think you are a man’ and said I shouldn’t work so hard. My child compares what she has against her other classmates. I want to be able to give her all of that so I work hard, disregarding my health and the doctor's advice.

The culture in the North and East changed dramatically after the war, the Women’s Action Network representative explained. Even the time usually people visited the kovil or mosque changed. Now, women in these areas avoid going out after 5:30 pm. Yet, many courageous women defy this unspoken rule in order to make a living.

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