At an age where one usually rests at home with their children and grand children by their side, she goes to work with a walking stick as her only companion. With an assorted bundle of bed sheets, towels, and serviettes on her head, she sets off from her every morning to the streets and homes of Colombo and its suburbs by foot. The days keep getting longer and more wearisome than the last, occasionally with not even one sale a day. But life just keeps on going for the 63 year old blind power woman, Nilawathi.
Born in Kuliyapitiya, Nilwathi was put to an orphanage at an early age. After being educated at a school for the blind she started to weave and sell clothes, a job she managed to keep in spite of the increasingly low demand. Imported foreign fabrics now appeal the local crowd more than the locally-produced items, leaving a big impact on Nilawathi’s life and personal economy.
Nilawathi’s normal working day spans from 5am to 9pm, during which she has to encounter numerous difficulties and limitations. Bus conductors who do not like or fear to take on aged, blind women with bundles on their heads certainly take first place along with thieves who take advantage of her vulnerability. However these journeys must be taken in order to pay her rent of Rs 2000 per month and for the compensation of her monthly medical and basic expenses that comes to about Rs 7000. But as her body wears and tears with age she is now unable to meet these expectations without incredible hardship and toil. So her humble request is for monthly financial support to keep her going in times of drought and also for monetary assistance in order to fix the broken door in her room, so that no person can once again attempt to steal her life’s work.
With no one in the world to care for her, loneliness is just another lingering emotion to Nilawathi. But her downright courage as a woman who keeps going in a world that she has not seen is worth its weight in gold.