Rural Women’s Front (RWF) started working in 1988 to voice the unique issues of rural women. RWF’s work draws from human rights and women’s rights, and connects women across ethno-religious and cultural divides. The organisation believes peace ought to be reflected at all the different levels of society, and that a family free of abuse or violence is crucial step towards the realisation of this vision.
RDF’s work with women extends from the individual to the family and to the policy making level. RDF provides women’s rights and human rights training and awareness programs. The organisation perceives alcoholism as a key factor for the increased number of domestic and gender-based violence among rural women and works at small group and village level to address that. Both men and women take part in the programs.
RDF also works on migrant women’s issues, and particularly on the issues of plantation sector women, a majority of whom are women. Through its lobbying, RDF has managed to effect policy level changes in Sri Lanka. As part of its work, the organisation provides counselling to those families affected by domestic violence and to the familiar where the mother is a migrant worker. RDF provides legal support or guidance for women’s issues, labour issues, children’s issues, police violence and local disputes. RDF has a child-focused program that identifies and works with children from challenging families to prevent the continuation of the cycle of violence.
RDF partners with organisations working for social justice, and carries out its work through these avenues. In partnering with the Fishing Cooperative Society (Dheewara Sahayogitha Sangamaya) RDF initiated an exchange program and a dialogue between the women in the North and the South in early 1990’s. This exchange continued through the conflict.
RDF pioneered work with migrant workers that cut across the ethno-religious differences in the country. The organisations’ work with ILO and the Foreign Employment Bureau resulted in drawing up a policy framework for migrant workers that the government acknowledged.
At present, RDF works with around 1000 people in the Galle District and collaborates with many organisations including Veediye Wirodhaya, Rathu Kodi Sanvidhanaya, Citizens’ Voice, Kantha Shakthi and Sthree.