Business development: Avenue for income earning
Viswamadu village in Mullaitivu District is one of the worst affected area during the war. The last part of the war fought in this area, and in 2011 most of the families started to come back to their villages. Kanagamma’s family also came to their original village and settled down in their abandoned house, destroyed during the war. They lost most of their assets including the equipment and permanent crop cultivation in their homestead. As the breadwinner of the family she has to start from zero level to develop her family situation with her five children who are still attending school. Resettlement is not that easy for us to build the normalcy back said Kanagamma. We had a quite a good life prior to the war but the war has crushed us to a greater extent that we could not raise our life status, but became dependent upon on the care givers and relief.
But the training and guidance provided by RAHAMA gave them hope to develop a business model to release themselves from dependency. She started a small boutique with a small capital. For a long period of time she was able to sell only a few essential items at her grocery shop. Throughout this period, the profit was very small and that was barely enough to support the needs of her five children.” My attempt to attract the consumers ended up in a market survey and I found if the essential items are available I can make more business.” Kanagamma stated. “I came to know that there are many financial institutions that provide loans to economic improvement and thought that if I can access to a loan, I can raise the level of my store to do better business”.
Her effort is trying to search for opportunities did not go to waste. The youth cooperative and RAHAMA developed a collaborative project to raise the income and living standards of the women in the region. Following the RAHAMA’s intervention with youth cooperative in Visvamadu to enhance the living condition of war affected women households, of which Kanagamma is a member.
“I didn’t have enough goods for my shop and with the help of RAHAMA’s intervention with youth cooperative Visvamadu I was able to purchase more goods with the money I received through the loan” said Kanagamma. Now I can provide for the needs of my family especially my children’s education. Now I have LKR. 100,000.00/= value things in my shop. I earn LKR. 700.00 /= as profit per day and monthly income of LKR. 21,000.00.
Kanagamma developed her business skills and know how to carry out a business in a profitable manner and also remembers to save something from her earnings. “I want to bring in more goods to my shop and expand it because at times the villagers need to go to the next village for certain items that are not available here” she said. “I am one of the proud owners of a grocery store in Visvamadu and catering to the small community in this backward village. My success is the learning on micro business development, cooperative involvement and savings and credit. The women should be encouraged to join to work collectively achieve higher levels she confirms”.