The Resilience Series: in the voice of Mr Somanathan, a teacher in Jaffna

“Living without kerosene was awful”. The Vice-Chancellor of the Jaffna University cycled from Point Pedro daily as proof of his independence and in solidarity with the ordinary Jaffna man, teacher-colleague and student. [Read more…]

The Resilience Series : The teacher kept on teaching


On the A9 to Jaffna, windscreens are endorsed with a sign that a traveller donated to a Hindu shrine

ORAL HISTORY :  Listen to the voice of Mr Somanathan, a teacher in Jaffna.

These three videos take us through the life of a teacher who kept on teaching amidst war and embargoes. They are a blend of images of Jaffna soil, water, kovil and library and have no people featured as it is the voice of Mr Somanathan that tells us the story.

During the protracted or long conflict between the LTTE and GoSL, the students and teachers and examiners, university vice chancellors and parents went through a terrible survival battle on a daily basis on school turf and on the way to school, back from school, studying by the light of a jam-jar lamp, running to bunkers in the schoolyard while some took that decision not to return home after school one day.

How the students kept on studying and the teachers kept on teaching is a phenomenon worth documenting for the people’s history gently told.  [Read more…]

Listen to Gaya’s Oral History Audioblog


“People generally remember where they take a first step on a journey… nine years ago, sitting at my study desk in Brussels I remember writing on how hard it was to be away from Sri Lanka during the ceasefire”
Are you interested in how students, teachers and a community under fire continued studying and
teaching with courage?
Join us on an oral history journey in the voice of Mr. Somanathan, a teacher in Jaffna.