This program was developed and is run by a team of local people who understand the economic conditions in the area and have the respect of the community. It is financed and monitored by a Canadian Committee of business experts, who ensure that reporting and management meet international standards. Our objectives are to offer assistance to those affected by the tsunami, the war and other disasters, and to increase the living
standards of the poor.
The program provides loans of 5,000 to 30,000SLR ($50-300 CAN) for the first starter loan to families living in extreme poverty to enable them to begin small income-generating businesses.
- We hold information and training sessions on micro-credit, borrowing, saving and financial planning.
- We monitor, counsel and train borrowers, and future borrowers, so they are able to run their small enterprises successfully.
- We develop women’s special interest groups and encourage women to begin businesses.
- We run a small savings bank as part of the micro-credit program, and ensure that all borrowers are also able to save.
- We run a “Share with the community” scheme which provides some financial support for borrowers who meet with disasters.
- We provide micro-credit loans to graduates from the vocational training program, and to parents of school dropouts.
Started in 2007, the program reached 300 borrowers by April 2009. Currently there are about 1,000 members. The program is so popular we have a waiting list. The program has a 99% recovery rate of loans and has helped over 1,000 families to improve their standard of living. It has a loan portfolio of 400,000 SLR ($40,000 CAN) and is very nearly self-sufficient, with loan interest covering all the staff costs.
Why are these programs needed?
After the tsunami emergency, medical care was the priority followed by psychological support and counseling for children traumatized by the event. Later, the focus changed to educational support as the children struggled to catch up lost school time. Two years after the tsunami, the civil war re-ignited, adding new trauma and bringing further hardship to the community. Care of the refugees, post-conflict counseling and peace-building activities followed. This initiative is community-based and is always driven by the changing priorities of the population, especially the displaced families still living in makeshift camps.
In 2007, a micro-credit program was launched and continues to expand. Much of the success of this program is owed to the many volunteers, both local residents and people from overseas who continue to donate their time and energy to helping our community recover and grow. In 2006 we received a 2-year development grant from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to strengthen the Youth Programs for Peace. However, this program could not exist without the continued support from individual donors through Rose Charities Canada, USA and others.