This is a little cliche, but for my last post, I would just like to express my gratitude to 53 of the most incredible people I have ever met.
Well ok, I didn’t meet all of them, but I did meet most.
I am speaking of course of the HHR staff. They have been working for 30 years to protect the human rights of all Sri Lankan people – locally, nationally, and internationally. They work tirelessly and selflessly certainly not for the money or prestige but just because it is the right thing to do. They have heard the stories of suffering and refuse to stand back and let it happen.
When you hear stories about local human rights advocates who risk their lives for their work, they are speaking about HHR. The threats and the people are very real.
They work in the field with the people. They listen to their stories and then do whatever they can to help through local and national courts, international human rights bodies, legal aid, women’s issues, medical rehabilitation programs for torture survivors, human rights education, the list goes on.
And I am most grateful that they allowed me to spend three months learning from their experience. Not only did I learn, they also welcomed me into their lives and trusted me with their stories. They call themselves Home for Human Rights, and to be totally cliché, it really is just that.
I am a better person just for having known them. Learning more about what I will do when I finish school and how to do field work in a conflict zone is just an added bonus.
As I was leaving the office today, the executive director of HHR, Mr. Xavier, said to make sure I tell the world what is happening to the people of Sri Lanka. From Sri Lanka, we whisper. From the States, I can scream. I will do as Mr. Xavier asks because he is my hero, but I don’t know how long I will last before returning to HHR. In my mind is the great debate between the value of a graduate degree and the need to do something now. A big part of me just wants to forget my second year of graduate school to continue working there. At the very least, I know this is not goodbye.
Posted By Madeline England
Posted Aug 10th, 2007