To be a recognized as a refugee takes years. First, one has to apply to an UNHCR office to be an asylum seeker, and then wait for their investigation and a chance for interview. The waiting list is long and therefore it takes a long time.
That was what happened to Rathi (aged 39), her husband, and son Thviyan (aged 4). Fleeing Sri Lanka during the uncertain years when the Tamil Tigers fought with government forces, they landed in Malaysia and managed to survive peacefully in Sentul area, where Thviyan could even attend a kindergarten. Unfortunately, Rathi’s husband dated and married a local woman and migrated to Canada with the new wife, leaving Rathi and son behind.
Rathi and Thviyan were devastated. Both were so depressed that they became suicidal. One ministry partner in ElShaddai Centre decided to counsel them and bring hope to them. Rathi was given a job as kitchen helper and Thviyan was given place in ERLC to continue his education. In the fellowship of other refugees and ministry partners, they began to find their purpose in life.
After waiting patiently for seven years, their application to be settled in the USA through the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur was finally approved. And so, on 19 July 2016, we bid farewell to Rathi and Thviyan, being happy for them that they are now able to live in the land of the free, and for ourselves, that we were able to play a part in turning their lives for the better.