Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Tsunami relief - Economic empowerment through micro credit

News and Press Release
Originally published
Helping Hand US - Canada and Unilever Sri Lanka have launched Micro Credit Projects to economically empower tsunami victim families in the Southern and Eastern coasts of Sri Lanka, through their local partner organization, the Social Service Department of Sri Lanka Jama'ath e Islami.

Helping Hand, a sister organization of ICNA Relief US - Canada, has granted US$100,000 to implement the project in five areas severely affected by the tsunami in the Island - Hambantota, Pottuvil, Kalmunai, Maruthamunai and Kinniya. Under this project, hundreds of tsunami victim families will receive micro credit to start micro economic ventures. Al Hamdulillah, Already several families in the Hambantota district have successfully launched their ventures using this facility.

Likewise, Unilever Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan chapter of the multi-national corporate giant 'Unilever', too has pledged Sri Lankan Rupees 2.0 million to implement a similar project in the Hambantota district among the Sinhalese and Muslim tsunami victim families. Sri Lanka Business Development Centre(SLBDF), a reputed business consulting firm in the country, will monitor this project on behalf of the donors. Recently Dr. M.M.Najim, representing the Social Service Department of the Jamaat, and Mr. Raj. Subramaniam, representing the SLBDF signed an MoU on the implementation of this joint programme.

According to the MoU, it is mandatory for all beneficiaries under the unilever scheme to undergo a 5-day training programme on entrepreneurship conducted by SLBDF, prior to obtain micro credit. Training programme for the first batch of beneficiaries was held from 8 to 12 of November 2005 at Hambantota.

The project has been developed by a local team headed by Dr.M.M.M. Najim(Senior lecturer, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya) in collaboration with experts from Islami Bank Bangladesh, one of the largest Islamic Banks in the world with around 150 branches and more than 4000 employees. The Islami Bank also has offered to train project officers in Micro Credit operations in Bangladesh.