January 23, 2008

A Case Study of Tamil Transnational Money Transfer Networks

The Impact of International Informal Banking on Canada: A Case Study of Tamil Transnational Money Transfer Networks (Undiyal), Canada/Sri Lanka

A Working Paper, Spring 2005

R. Cheran and Sharryn Aiken1

Introduction

In the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami that devastated the coastal regions of Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India, on December 26, 2004, Sri Lankan community groups in Toronto became active in fundraising for Tsunami victims. Toronto-based Tamil community organizations and Tamil media which had been raising money for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction over the past 15 years were the first to initiate coordinated fund raising drives. On December 26, 2004 three community radio stations and one Tamil TV station launched a live, on air fund raising drive that lasted for three days and netted $2.5 million CAD.2 An unusual participant in the drive was an influential informal money transfer agent who was present at one of the radio stations. The money collected by the radio station was sent to Sri Lanka every three hours or whenever it reached $50,000.

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