Dilmah Conservation inaugurates programme of dignified empowerment amongst the Sri Lankan Veddha (indigenous community) in Sri Lanka at “Varigasabha’ Convention.
Dilmah Conservation hosted the Sri Lanka’s indigenous Veddah community’s first traditional communal gathering – ‘Varigasabha’ – in the East of Sri Lanka on the 30th and 31st of July 2011. Held under the auspices of Veddah Chief Uru Warige Vanniala eththo, the Varigasabha traditionally brings together the Veddha community from all over Sri Lanka to discuss their issues and find solutions to problems the community faces. For the first time the Varigasabha took place this year in Vakarei, an area that was until recently the site of heavy fighting in a 30-year conflict that engulfed Sri Lanka’s North and East. The Varigasabha was held to also commemorate World Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and focused on the Veddha community living in the East of Sri Lanka – also known as the ‘Sea Veddhas’ (Veddhar – in Tamil) – who face difficult socio-economic conditions due to the conflict that prevailed in their traditional homeland. The Veddhas claim a history of 37,000 years and of 17 clans that once existed, only 4 remain today.