A group of former LTTE child soldiers, who have undergone rehabilitation and vocational training after laying down arms, were presented with overseas work visas by Sri Lankan authorities at a ceremony held at a temple in Colombo.
Amidst chanting of religious hymns, seven young ex-LTTE cadres, in their late teens or early 20’s, accepted the work permits and documents for Malaysia and received blessings from the temple priest ahead of a new beginning in their lives.
Attired in jeans and sporting neat hair-cuts, the former rebels were watched by the other devotees with interest at the Vinayagar Tamil temple yesterday.
The teenagers, who had handed themselves over to the security forces along with hundreds others during the last stages of the war, were rehabilitated at Ambepussa, Welikada near Colombo and Jaffna rehabilitation centres.
Seven of these children have been granted employment in Malaysia through the intervention of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Justice and Law Reforms and the Foreign Employment Bureau.
These group of former child soldiers were awarded jobs on construction sites in Malaysia after undergoing training.
“This is the first batch of former child soldiers for whom jobs have been found in Malaysia,” Cyril Jayawardene, a senior executive of the rehabilitation bureau, said.
The former fighters were made to undergo year-long vocational training jobs like plumbing, masonry, carpentry and electrical work at state-run welfare centres.