Mrs. Valliammai learned the art of gardening and cultivation from her parents. Now it is her livelihood, and, with the help of a CERI microenterprise loan and her own enthusiasm, it is somewhat of a family business. Mrs. Valliammai is 56 years old and is the foster mother of Sivarasa, a child in CERI’s care. Her husband, Vanniasingham, is an unskilled worker who has a difficult time finding work much of the time. When there is no work for him, he helps his wife with the gardening. Sivarasa helps also during school breaks. They consider it a blessing to engage in this effort together.
The family is skilled in planting crops, knowing the appropriate times for planting and harvesting. They were granted a microenterprise loan of 10,000 Rupees (approximately 100 USD) and planted mung beans, okra, chilies, eggplants, lettuce, and manioc. While typically allowed payments of 10 installments to repay the loan, Mrs. Valliammai and her family repaid theirs in just 5 installments. The family sells their produce at the weekly market and in their village, and they are able to make a profit each week.
Although a portion of their cultivation was recently damaged due to a flood, the resourceful Mrs. Valliammai converted the flooded area into a paddy field and was thus able to avoid a devastating loss of income. She has now requested a second loan to continue to pursue and expand her paddy cultivation efforts. Mrs. Valliammai is a motivated woman and drives her family forward with her determination. There are many more like her who only need a small boost to help them start a business that can propel their families toward self-sustainability. CERI’s Microenterprise program provides that boost with the help of donors like you!
CERI’s Microenterprise Program is continuing to have great success! Here’s another story about how people are being helped in Sri Lanka.
Asanar Janufa is a foster mother to a 14-year-old boy in CERI’s care named Ibrahim. They live in a low income community in Eravur, Sri Lanka. Ms. Janufa’s first loan was for $65, which she used to buy a sewing machine to start a dress business. She produced and sold an average of 9 dresses each month which yielded an income of $27 a month. Even after the massive flood that destroyed her business, Ms. Janufa continued diligently onward with the help of another loan of $600 from CERI’s Microenterprise Program to buy two motorized sewing machines. Ms. Janufa said, “With CERI’s help, I learned a lot, sharpened my knowledge and skills and developed my confidence greatly to speak with the people of different income levels.” Just last month, September 2011, Ms. Janufa made $450 selling her homemade dresses. She uses this income to support her foster son. Ms. Janufa is a wonderful example of how CERI’s Microenterprise Program helps improve the livelihoods of poor rural families.
Please make a difference today in the lives of the less fortunate by giving to CERI’s Microenterprise Program.
This 2011 summer brought new opportunities for CERI’s Sri Lankan foster parents who have their own businesses. “Bridging Business in Batti, Trade Fair 2011” was held for 3 days in July and featured 150 stalls displaying the products and services of several companies, including local, national, and international entrepreneurs. The event was supported by the Central and Provincial government and mainly focused on the products and services sector for markets involving agriculture, livestock, fishing, and tourism. There were participants from various sectors including farmer organizations, trade associations, milk producers, corporate businesses, service sectors, school students, and entrepreneurs both local and national. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) helped to sponsor the event and invited CERI’s Women’s Small Group microenterprise program to exhibit their self-employment projects. Mrs. Shanthakumary and Mrs. Subaitha had the opportunity to display their products at the exhibition. The event was such a great success that even the Chief Minister, Mr. Santhirakanthan, visited the women’s pottery hut and got some details about their pottery business. Thank you for supporting these women with foster children to succeed with their small business ventures. Please continue to help women like these succeed by giving today.
So many people in the world need help that it sometimes feels overwhelming. But when you meet a woman like Mrs. Shanthakumari, you realize that small steps make a huge difference. When CERI’s staff met Mrs. Shanthakumari, we knew she had promise and would use the money we gave her to restart her pottery business wisely. She initially started her business in the 1990’s, but faced major losses of her house and possessions due to the civil war within Sri Lanka. Through all the hardships, she never became discouraged. Mrs. Shanthakumari is very active in the community and, after raising three children of her own, she took in a foster girl who had been abandoned by her family as a result of a physical impairment. These great qualities gave CERI confidence that she was a worthy candidate to help succeed. We gave her a loan of $100 in June of 2010. She profited greatly in that year, repaid her loan, and even made a $200 profit in a single sale. After the destructive flood earlier this year, CERI gave her another loan of $250 to rebuild her business again. Through the profits of her business, Mrs. Shanthakumari plans to repair and improve her home and continue to take care of her 10-year-old foster daughter. These small loans are often the difference between a life of poverty and struggling to make ends meet and meaningful employment which restores dignity and self-sufficiency to families. There are many more worthy candidates like Mrs. Shanthakumari, and your gift can provide them with an opportunity to succeed!
In January 2011, a massive flood devastated many people in the country of Sri Lanka. The district of Batticaloa was hit especially hard. It was mostly destroyed by the 2005 Tsunami. This time the people of Batticaloa again lost their homes, businesses, and way of living. The devastation was great and the need of the people was evident, so CERI was glad to rise to the task of helping people rebuild their livelihoods and regain their self-reliance. Two of the wonderful people we are helping are Vasantha and Mrs. Manjula.
Vasantha is a sweet, 58-year-old Sri Lankan woman who is a foster mother of a child in CERI’s Foster Care program. She lives and works as a potter in Eravur, which is a very famous town for pottery in the Batticaloa district. After the flood, CERI gave Vasantha a 2nd loan of Rs. 20,000 ($200 USD) for her pottery business. She previously received a loan of Rs. 10,000 ($100 USD), which she had paid back in full before the flood. CERI gladly provided her with another loan due to the hardships the flood had caused. Vasantha expressed, “Now, I’ve started my business with confidence.”
Mrs. Manjula is a 40-year-old Hindu widow who lives in the town of Morakottanchenai. She has two children of her own plus three foster children who are all school aged. She has a small boutique and prepares snacks, as well. Because of the flood, she lost her business. After deciding to open her boutique again, CERI gave her a loan of Rs. 5,000 ($50 USD) to restart her boutique. Mrs. Manjula shared, “I am really happy to know that CERI considered our needs and is ready to support us to restart our livelihood program again. We are very thankful.”
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