Sri Lanka is an island with a turbulent history. Nearly 10 years ago, it was hit by a devastating tsunami. Moreover, the conflict with the Tamil Tigers only came to an end in 2009. The country seems be doing better since then. The economic growth was 6% in 2012 and at USD 6,200, income per capita is relatively high for the region. However, these numbers hide large regional differences. Socially and economically, the northern and eastern parts of the country are not as developed as other areas. These underdeveloped regions historically house Tamils, who make up 18% of the total 21.6 million inhabitants. Besides all this, the political climate has become grimmer.
The government combines decisiveness with a policy of repression, which is also felt by our local partners. With the Microcredit for Mothers projects, we can make a real difference in Sri Lanka: by providing microcredits, we can strengthen the independence of the poorest women and support local organisations.
Before receiving a loan, Sagarika earned an income by selling her cow’s milk. She also grows chili and ginger on her land. She used the loan to buy a water pump and vegetable seeds. This pump allows her to cultivate and irrigate her land more effectively.
Sagarika hopes she can harvest 3 times a year. All the proceeds from these harvests will be new and additional income for her.
Dayasarana Development Foundation (DDF) is our partner in eastern Sri Lanka. The foundation was started by a large Sri Lankan company, the Daya Group, and has around 13,000 members. A team of 8 is currently active in the Ampara District, distributing food, giving medical aid and supporting schools on a daily basis. Moreover, they provide training focused on income-generating activities. This way, many women are supported in running their ‘company’.
DDF and Microcredits for Mothers have been working together since early 2013. DDF provides the training and Microcredits for Mothers the microcredit fund, ensuring the women get both education as well as the financial resources they need to improve their income and standard of living.
For over 25 years, our partner Janawaboda Kendraya (JK) has been active in improving the lives of underprivileged groups of people, living mainly in the western and eastern parts of the country. Around 15 employees/volunteers help locals with such issues as (land) ownership, political repression, social inclusion, sustainable agriculture and health care.
In 2007, JK and Microcredit for Mothers started their first microcredit project together. The foundation believes in the combination of income-generating activities and social development. When the project started, some of its members joined forces to become eligible for a microcredit.
NESED (North East Socio Economic Organization) is founded in 2004. NESED works with social economical undevelopend women but they only help with financial means from the moment women are structured, come together in groups and have a clear focus on where to get. NESED is involved in various projects and is focussed on helping homeless families and micro enterpreneurs hit by war and tsunami.
Muthurajawela is a wildlife sanctuary north of Colombo, existing of marshes and coastline. At the end of the ‘90s, a large-scale aid program was rolled out, in which people living in the marshes were able to move to a nearby area with better facilities. In 2008, Microcredit for Mothers started a microcredit program with a group of local women. They have organized themselves in a small loan society and see the fund as a way to generate additional income. People in this area traditionally earn a living in the fishing industry or agriculture, both of which are declining. MMSLS is an unconventional cooperation due to the absence of an NGO or MFI as an intermediary. The women manage the fund themselves.
KIRDO is active in North Central Sri Lanka, a region that has been the scene of a long battle between the government and the Tamil Tigers. The 27-year civil war only came to an end in 2009. Many families fled from the violence, which caused mass civilian casualties. The consequences can be felt to this day. Most families in this area earn a living in agriculture, which was hindered by the political unrest. Whereas the violence has decreased since the war ended, earnings from agriculture now suffer due to heavy rainfall.
KIRDO’s activities in the area range from emergency aid to reconstruction. They work together with local NOGs on health care, infrastructure and more. They started a microcredit program focusing on (single-parent) families with Microcredit for Mothers in 2007. The program supports these families in generating extra income.
With EUR 9 per month, we can help one woman on her way towards economic independence.
With a loan of EUR 43 a woman can buy her own sewing machine.
With a loan of EUR 68 a woman can start growing rice, vegetables and fruit.
The average loan for purchasing cattle is EUR 91 per woman.
With EUR 4.250, we can start a whole new project for 50 women.