Helping Small Business
SEWING MACHINE LADIES
Sutharsiny lives in Lal’s village (Kayankerny) with her six year old daughter, Neelakshana. Lal has recommended her as a hardworking lady, worthy to receive a Star Action sewing machine. We were very impressed with the work she has already done. Her ‘small business’ is thriving.
Star Action has now commissioned her to make a set of new clothes for each of Pawalam’s four children and two new dresses for Pawalam herself. (Her only dress was held together with a safety pin when we met her.)
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In our ‘Build a Toilet’ village (Sagarasirigama) on the West Coast, we have also received requests to help three ladies start small sewing businesses. This will be considered as funds permit.
OUR SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
This aspect of Star Action’s work in Sri Lanka has expanded from our original ‘sewing machine and small shop ideas’. Interest rates for ordinary people here are prohibitive (up to 72% p.a.), so we lend at no interest at all, but with a clearly set out, regular repayment plan, so the money can be ‘recycled’ for others to use.
We have sponsored a ‘sweet cart’ which is wheeled around the streets, selling both sweet and savoury foods. Our sponsorship loan is interest free but to be repaid in monthly instalments (as are all our ‘small business loans’). This project gives work for a wonderful, hardworking family, who have five children—one mentally sick. Our sponsorship has been much appreciated. Rohan identified this new project for us as he was so impressed with this hardworking family. Joan was given the happy task of ‘opening this.
Our ‘Sweet Cart man’ is now doing well … and we have now given him a liquidiser so that he can make medicinal drinks for street sales.
Star Action has also sponsored Rohan himself in the opening of his Engineering ‘Spare Parts’ shop. He is a fully qualified mechanical engineer, and very proud of his shop which he has called R-STAR
Kahlil Rahman runs an electrical business in Sarmmathurai—a small Muslim town 15 kilometres from Kalmunai. Our Star Action loan was made to help him extend his business and take on more employees who lost their livelihood in the tsunami.
Lal is an experienced diver working with Upali (see picture below) on the sea clearing, north of Kalmunai. It is here in his home village of Kayankerny that Lal’s wife runs a small grocer shop. Our Star Action loan has enabled him to extend the shop and start a kerosene business to supply all the local fishermen. (They were finding it difficult to get hold of the fuel needed for their boats.)
Stuart is pictured discussing sponsorship with a baker and his family. Our sponsorship would enable this family to run a bakery business offering much needed employment in the area.
We currently have 5 Star Action sewing machines, all in use by tsunami hit ladies in the Kalmunai area. The repayment arrangement is an affordable 500 rupees a month (about £2.50. The machines provide a small business opportunity for house-bound mothers and widows, as well as a new employment opportunity for young adults.
Anna Rosika (pictured ) is successfully making and selling beautiful clothes using her Star Action sewing machine.
One of our most recent ‘sewing machine’ ladies is Sugandi. Her husband was recently shot in the civil war by the LTTE – the rebel force. Her sewing machine will help her support herself and their child. Sandor Kumara is 20 years old. She has trained in creative textile design. Our small Star Action loan will enable her to set up a sari design business.