Can you believe that Christmas is almost here? We at CERI hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and are filled with the joy of Christmas. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, we wanted to take a moment to thank you again for your support of CERI's micro-finance program in Sri Lanka. Without YOU, our program would cease to be what it is!
Travel with me, if you will, east to Sri Lanka, a small island nation impoverished by natural disasters and thirty years of civil war. Before the tsunami in 2004, Sri Lanka was already pierced by poverty. Add the tsunami into the mix, and you’ve got 38,000 deaths, 800,000 people displaced, and thousands of children orphaned. As you may remember, Sri Lanka’s government-run foster care system was overrun by the multitude s of children orphaned by the disaster. That’s when the Sri Lankan government approached CERI for help. Through generous gifts, CERI was able to respond to this emergency need by establishing Sri Lanka’s first private foster care program. While the thirty year civil finally ended in 2009, it was not without first leaving years’ worth of devastation in its wake.CERI strives to maintain its vital foster care program in Sri Lanka, but there are more children in need of sponsorships than we currently can provide. This lag in child sponsorships threatens our Sri Lankan foster care program as a whole. Therefore, CERI and business-minded donors like you have responded to this threat by implementing a sustainable microfinance program. How this works is, CERI extends small business loans to its foster parents to encourage entrepreneurial enterprise and self-sufficiency among the families we serve. Not only have the results been remarkably successful as we’ve seen family after family pull themselves out of the grips of poverty, the program has had such a positive economic impact, we’re now expanding the program to include loans to eligible individuals, even if they are not CERI foster parents. We are pleased to report that since the program’s inception in 2007, we have not had one defaulted loan!
A success story I’d like to share with you is that of Mrs. Kanmani, foster mother of Asthin. Mrs. Kanmani is a widow, mother of four, and experienced seamstress. A skill acquired from her mother, Mrs. Kanmani’s sewing ability ranges from making dresses, nightgowns, and skirts to men’s suits. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Kanmani used her loan to buy a sewing machine in order to support her family doing tailoring jobs. With the second half of her loan, Mrs. Kanmani purchased another sewing machine and material in which she expanded her business to making clothes to sell in the weekly markets. She recently determined to sew a new model boy’s shirt to which she was very successful! Mrs. Kanmani says, “I learned how to sew from my mother, which has enabled me to stand on my own two feet… I am really thankful to my mother for teaching me this skill. Thank you, CERI, for the inspiration to start this business.” Without donors like you, CERI would be unable to stimulate struggling economies by helping impoverished families escape the death grip of poverty.THANK YOU for supporting Micro-finance, a sustainable means of helping Sri Lankan families rise out of poverty!
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