By Pranaya Selva (13), Thanura Premakumar (13), Dinuja Sivalingam, Janushya Senthilkumar
Happy International Women’s Day
Women of the world deserve a future free from harm and violence; a future that’s peaceful with opportunities and equal rights. But Tamil women from Eelam (Sri Lanka) have to maintain a life with the wounds from war trauma. They face a struggle as a consequence of migration and the struggle of juggling work and family life. Daily, they have to give their best and work hard for their children and themselves.
First-generation Eelam Tamil women in Norway have experienced war from a young age and they are, still years later, struggling with the trauma caused by the war. They are deeply traumatized by watching their loving mother struggle to keep their family safe and happy. And their dad having to keep the family safe by protecting them. On the other side, many strong and brave women have fought in the war for the Tamils´ freedom and self-determination, side by side with the Tamil men. They sacrificed their lives for our traditional homeland.
The first Eelam Tamil came to Norway in 1956 to learn about the fishery. Because of Tamil culture, most women couldn’t migrate to another country alone. That caused that most Tamil women came to Norway through a family reunion from the 1970s. Tamil women migrated to Norway with their children. At that time, a few gave birth to their children in Norway. Soon, more children of Tamil origin were born on Norwegian soil. The Tamil community grew. This led to the establishment of many Tamil stores, temples, Tamil clothing stores and many more activities took place. Tamil lifestyle and culture became visible in Norway. Tamil women came to Norway and had to learn a new language, that was Norwegian. Most of them tried to get higher studies. Many women sacrificed their career for their family while others continued and got a great education.
First-generation Eelam Tamil women who migrated to Norway have been through many struggles. They migrated from Eelam (Sri Lanka) to Norway and started a new life here. They learned a new language, found a job, lived with two cultures and took care of their family. They became capable of handling everything. They are strong, brave and helpful. That’s why they deserve to be seen, heard and respected for everything they are holding up in a family and society. They deserve a future free from harm and violence; a future that’s peaceful, with opportunities and equal rights.
Traces of Norwegian Tamil diaspora women in the archival materials produced in Norway
நோர்வே தமிழ் மகளீர் அமைப்பு சிற்றேட்டு (2010). Tamils Women Organisation in Norway Brochure (2010) (PDF)
சக்தி │ Shakti. (Feb. 1991).
புலம்பெயர் தமிழ் மகளீர் கொண்ட ஆசிரியர் குழுவால் உருவாக்கப்பட்ட காலாண்டிதழ். Quarterly magazine produced by migrated Tamil women editorial.
பனிமுகிழ் │ Panimukizh. (Feb. 2008).
பேர்கன் தமிழ் சிறுவர் பாடசாலையின் 20 வது ஆண்டு விழா மலர். 20th anniversary booklet of Bergen Tamil Children’s School (1987-2019).
அன்னை பூபதி தமிழ்க் கலைக்கூட (1992-இன்று) இரண்டாவது ஆண்டு விழா சிறப்பிதழ் (27.03.1994)│ 2nd Anniversary Booklet (27.03.1994) of Annai Poopathi Tamil Cultural Centre (1992-now).
UNWOMEN. (n.a). «International Women’s Day 2021». Retrieved from https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-womens-day
Vivekananthan, Majoran. (08.11.2004). «…da tamilske kvinner kom til Norge». Retrieved from https://www.utrop.no/plenum/i-fokus/7840/