By Harendra De Silva –
Yes, dollars are important for our reserves! Yet without addressing root causes but focusing narrowly on earning $$ is probably the mindset of a gambler! The recent supposed cabinet decision of the government to allow mothers of young children to go abroad and slave for the mirage of dollars, sends shivers down my spine. This is an intention of a pre-emptive strike before it is formally approved! I hope the Family Health Bureau, UNICEF and WHO joins in the protest without being diplomatically passive. Aiyo! Minister Sir! Your cabinet paper has given a දෙකේ පන්තියේ (grade 2) question paper to justify the absurd cabinet paper!
As a paediatrician for 40 years, and even having treated children of members of parliament and some members themselves; as well as the founder Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Child Protection, I have seen through the huge social, psychological and health impact on children and young women on one hand as opposed to a few fistful dollars on the other!
We need to address the huge impact on the family in the absence of the mother from the household, especially during the formative years in childhood! It is well recognized that most of the behaviour traits of adults are imbibed during childhood. A well-documented behaviour is: childhood abuse of all sorts including physical, emotional and sexual abuse often leads to abusive conduct or becoming a passive victim in adulthood. For example, some of those children sexually abused in childhood may become abusers as adults, some others would continue to be victims without resistance while others would become promiscuous. Of course, although a majority are emotionally affected not all have behavioral changes. Those who have faced emotional or physical violence are more likely to behave in the same way as adults or as parents. Hence the reason why paediatricians and psychologists advocate a non-violent childhood. The mother is the most important first layer of protection to prevent a child being traumatized! I know, the economic pundits crazy of dollars would clinch this statement and cry out; “the mother is the first sources of trauma!” Remember it is a mother in her childhood who has faced trauma that may be violent to the child. Although it may be so in some instances, in a majority of instances the maternal instinct protects the child. It is the father who is more likely to be violent, considering the fact that he in his childhood was more likely to have faced violence than the mother. A violent alcoholic or drug addict father to look after a young child without any doubt will affect the next generation. At the same time imagine the extent of exploitation and abuse of many dimensions the young inexperienced mother would face in an unfamiliar environment!
In your Cabinet paper you firstly, quote international standards of women’s rights to opt to work. As far as I know all international women’s rights groups are concerned of young women going for domestic employment in the Middle East.
Taking the first reason: has the UN protested? If so, what is the reference? Are you trying to hoodwink the people and the UN by quoting a mysterious ghost concept? Does the UN state anywhere that women’s rights override making children at risk of abuse and neglect?? Secondly, you quote fraudulent papers and illicit travel by women as a reason to abolish this circular! On this excuse, let me ask you that it isn’t it your own officers who produce fraudulent papers? Isn’t it your mandate to stop this corruption? Isn’t the corruption by your officers a trickle-down effect of your own corruption? Without correcting your fault, you are going to throttle children and young women with an illusion of a pot of $ at the end of the rainbow!! Enough is enough! Instead of professional decisions, the cabinet and minister are trying to take pavement hawker decisions. With apologies to hawkers who would understand better!
In short, thousands of children and women would be at risk of abuse and neglect if you go through this decision. my plea is to look at the next generation and not look cross eyed narrowly at Petro-dollars!
Again, let me tell you that you still will not get your dollars since the undiyal system will continue unless other measures are taken.