"Give a man a fish; he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime." The philosophy of Children's Emergency Relief International is to bring hope and healing to children and their families through sustainable projects. The success of CERI's micro-enterprise program in Sri Lanka reinforces this philosophy.
For decades, Sri Lanka has been plagued by war and natural disasters causing extreme poverty and, by extension, severe hunger. In response to this plight, CERI initiated a micro-enterprise program in order to help families pull themselves out of the death-grip of poverty. The program began by extending small business loans to CERI foster families. After much success, CERI expanded the program to include more that just CERI foster families.
Not only has CERI's micro-enterprise program offered families a reprieve from dire hunger - a condition to which many have become too accustomed - but families have also realized the potential to establish family savings for use to help other families in need or pay for children's educations.
Thank you for the support you have offered to this program. We would not be where we are without your help.
“I never dreamed we would have our own home again,” said Mrs. Jeyapragash. Her family lives in a region of Sri Lanka that was left tattered by the three decade long civil war and then later devastated by the 2004 tsunami.
With the help of a CERI micro-enterprise loan, the Jeyapragash family was able to turn a simple vegetable garden into a thriving poultry and vegetable farm. From the loan, they've built chicken coops to house their chickens, installed a water pump for the well, and laid an irrigation system to keep the growing vegetables properly hydrated.
The family is still poor and some days can be tough, but Mrs. Jeyapragash believes things are improving. Currently, they are making enough profit from their poultry and vegetable sales to build a new house next to the family's lean-to shelter, plus they are re-paying the money they borrowed from the CERI micro-enterprise program!
This is just one success story of many stories that are still developing in Sri Lanka. We couldn't minister to these families without your generous support! On behalf the Jeyapragash family and CERI, thank you for supporting CERI and the island nation of Sri Lanka.
In spite of successful economic development in concentrated regions of Sri Lanka, poverty continues to run rampant amidst the war-torn island that all too often suffers the added affects of natural disasters. CERI's solution to this plight -- self-employment through micro-finance -- has proved most successful at equipping families to escape the perils of poverty. To date, approximately 110 women have benefited from CERI’s micro-finance program.
Mrs. Komathy, 47, lives in th eastern province of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.. Her husband, Thavarasa, is an unskilled, low-paid laborer who earns a small income that doesn't provide for the family’s basic needs. Mr. & Mrs. Komathy have four unmarried children. Mrs. K. also looks after her brother’s daughter, 8 year old girl Tharshikka, and has been struggling to run the family.
However, everything changed after she joined CERI’S Micro-finance development program.
Mrs. Komathy is a clever business woman; she now owns a small space of land where she grows food for her family, which includes banana, coconut & mango trees as well as pomegranates and vegetables. The surplus of the crops are sold at a local market. With part of their income, she runs a grocery shop beside her house. Mrs. K. recently decided to add a new product of tamarind jam packets, which costs little money to produce and has been very popular with the customers at her shop.
Since joining CERI's micro-finance development program, Mrs. Komathy and her family are enjoying the blessings of self-employment.
Disaster strikes again, but thankfully CERI is on the ground floor. In mid-December, heavy rains pummeled the nation of Sri Lanka resulting in massive flooding and devastating landslides, leaving thousands – including CERI foster families – in an already hurting economy homeless.
“The people of Batticaloa, even while facing the immediate problem of feeding themselves, having seen a large portion of their livestock destroyed and almost all of their farming land gone, still saunter about with an air that is almost casual. They speak of their problems in a matter-of-fact way… They are long-since jaded and have come
to the realization that you can only do so much to ask for help.” ~National Director of CERI Sri Lanka.
While several NGOs have worked alongside the Sri Lankan government to hand out dry rations and emergency supplies, CERI national staff was able to respond immediately by handing out emergency rations to CERI foster families affected by the crisis. Nevertheless, loss of homes, crops and livestock mean a tough road ahead for CERI families in Sri Lanka. The next order of business is to reconstruct and build homes for the families in the CERI program.
Would you join CERI in its initiative to boost income of Sri Lankan foster families and orphaned teens who have again lost everything? Thank you for your generous gifts!
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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