My name is Ashoka Nilmini. I am living at 10th Lane, Sooriyawewa, in the Hambantota district of Sri Lanka. In the past, life was so tough for us and we encountered a lot of hardships with no ray of hope until South Asia Partnership (SAPSRI) extended a lending hand to us to rise up. My small family, with my husband and the two loving kids is very happy now. I would like to take this opportunity to briefly state my success story.
Our lives changed in to a massive success with the involvement of South Asia Partnership Sri Lanka (SAPSRI) . I am the Treasurer of Laktharu Community Based Organization, a society registered with SAPSRI. Our CBO is in operation for about two years now. I chose banana cultivation as my self-employment and started Puah banana cultivation in two acres from the first loan that was granted to me by SAPSRI. I was refused loans by several finance organizations for not having guarantors, but SAPSRI was the only organization which considered my case sympathetically when I was in a truly desperate situation.
My Banana Cultivation
We have overcome many problems in our lives now. Now I have a regular income by selling Banana. SAPSRI gave us not only a loan but also the following facilities :
- Micro finance management training
- Entrepreneur development training
- Introduced new business development opportunities
- Family counseling
- Inter relationship with other government & non-government organization
- Exposure to exhibitions, seminars & awareness programs.
Now I am self confident and fairly financially stable and our family is filled with joy and happiness. My kids do well in their education. We have a good recognition in our village.
I think it is appropriate to mention here how we have overcome the persisting problem of protecting our crop especially from wild elephants, in the meantime.
We have built a watch hut on a tall tree top in the cultivation site to spend the night driving away the rampaging wild elephants to save our crop. Also, have a similar hut at the ground level as well in our banana plot where we spend the day time, protecting our crop from other animals/birds. These are not big challenges for us now. We don’t take elephants as a threat to us, and we have begun to love them too. We enjoy living in these huts too. Of course living on a tree top is also fun !
I have fully paid back the first loan that I have been granted by SAPSRI. Now I wish to cultivate bananas in another two acre plot by obtaining a second loan. My next dream is to buy a new hand-operated tractor from the sales proceeds of the intended new extent of cultivation.
I have studied only up to grade 08 in school. But, I am proud to say I have achieved success through perseverance and utilizing the loan carefully with the advice, training and guidance provided by SAPSRI. I have the will power now to go further and further. All my gratitude goes to SAPSRI which has come forward to help disadvantaged people like us.