This is what S. A. Chandani Pushpakumari who lives at Namalwewa, Mihintalaya has to say.
“Before 2001, my husband and I ran a small boutique and it was very difficult to make a living out of it. We had three children. All five of us lived at the back of the same boutique by covering the front with some cardboard. It was very hard and difficult to live like that.
We didn’t have enough money to live. My husband was very eager, but he didn’t and couldn’t find any work to do. We didn’t have money to improve the conditions or put more stock in the boutique. So, as a last resort, he collected some vegetables and fruits and took them to sell in Colombo. But, it didn’t cover more than the travelling expenses. We barely lived.
In our desperation to make a living, we fell into the hands of a trickster who stole whatever money we had and ran away. As a result, we had to close down the boutique and we had no way of making a living.
Life went on. One day one of my neighbours called me to their home. When I went there I saw several people from the village gathered there.
It was there that I came to know Mr Cyril Wejesooriya, the District Coordinating Officer of SAP SRI LANKA. When we listened to the inspiring and heartening way he addressed us, I thought we would be able to come out of the pit we have fallen into. After that, with the help and advise of this official we formed the Namalwewa Rural Development Society. And thus, I became a Member of the Namalwewa Rural Development Society.
At that time, it was under the management of Dr. Mrs. Padma Rathnayaka, the Executive Director of SAP SRI LANKA. With her approval and under the guidance of the District Coordinator, I took the first loan and bought a Beeralu machine to do design work on wood. I am proud to say that I paid that loan quickly with the work I did at home. Then I took the second loan and bought a hand tractor. With the third, I bought a machine to cut paddy. With these purchases, I was able to pay the loan back and improve the living conditions of my family.
And with the fourth loan and with all the money I saved I bought a tzunami Harvesting Machine. I am very proud to say that in the meantime I was able to build a beautiful, small house for the five of us to live. I was also able to send my children to a school in town for their higher education.
With the fifth loan facility, I bought a five-acre paddy field. We were able to save a lot of money with this, so, we bought two boutiques close to the hot water spring wells, in Trincomalee. This area attracts lot of tourists. We were able to open a shop selling indigenous medicine and the other shop with fancy items. I am so pleased to say that we are doing very well.
For all this progress and improvement in my family and our life-style I very humbly thank the District Coordinating Officer Mr Cyril Wijesooriya without whose assistance and guidance we would not have been able to achieve any of this. I remember Madam Padma Rathnayaka with gratitude. I want to sincerely thank SAP SRI LANKA Organization and the help and leadership of all the officials of the organisation for helping us overcome our problems.”