DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY To Make a Difference

From Paddy Fields to Engineering Faculty

BDS Beneficiary: Rasaratnam Sanjith

LOCATION: Kanukkerny West, Mullaitivu

Rasaratnam Sanjith hails from the picturesque village of Kanukkerny West situated in the Mullaitivu district. They are a family of four engaged in paddy and vegetable cultivation. His elder brother was a final year undergraduate in the Engineering Faculty at the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka.

Life was always challenging for them as they were severely affected by separatist war. After starting their life again after the war which ended in 2009, the family is dependent on the monthly income which was Rs 25,000 earned through paddy and vegetable cultivation, including the Samurdhi allowance they receive of Rs 2,000. His parents were committed in supporting their children with hope that they would find success in their lives, so their education was never neglected even through all their hardships.

Sanjith studied at Vidyananda College, Mulliyawalai, Mullaitivu district and got through his G. C. E. (O/L) Examinations in 2016 with flying colors obtaining 8A’s and 1C. His determination to continue with his Advanced Level studies in the Math Stream was challenged due to financial constraints as his brother was also pursuing his higher education simultaneously, and the father’s income was not just enough to support both children.

Berendina came to know about the financial challenges faced by the young talent, Sanjith and undertook him as one of the students of the Mullaitivu District to receive the Bright Students Scholarships fund. Sanjith received a monthly allowance of Rs. 1,500 which supported him to pay for his extra classes for his Advanced Level education. Berendina also provided him with mentoring and career guidance so that he would be able to pursue on achieving his dreams. This support motivated Sanjith to put aside all the financial shortcomings and concentrate strongly on his studies. His hard work achieved a fine outcome at the G. C. E. (A/L) examinations held in 2019, as he became the District first at the examination obtaining 3A’s in the Math stream, bringing glory and fame to his school and to his village.

After securing a slot at the Engineering faculty of University of Moratuwa to continue his university studies, Sanjith happily stated with gratitude “I wasn’t too sure to whether study my A/L examination in the Math stream because of my family conditions. But thanks to Berendina, I was able to continue my studies in my desired stream” said Sanjith, who shot to fame in his district after his success in the examination and presently he is conducting extra classes for students. He further states, “Berendina shaped up my future and provided me with timely support to realize my ambition of becoming a future Engineer.”

Rasitha has assisted to cultivate her home garden

BDS Beneficiary: Nirmalaranjan Rasitha

LOCATION: Kaluwanchikkudy

Nirmalaranjan Rasitha living in Kaluwanchikudy was a seamstress in profession, married to a carpenter. Rasitha being a long-term client of BMIC was able to obtain a loan, and purchase a sewing machine to develop her business. It administered as the main source of income for the family. As Rasitha’s children were still schooling, she and her spouse had the responsibility of managing their living expenses, including the educational expenses of the three children. Due to the unfamiliar conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that was prevailing in the country with extended lockdowns, they stumbled to survive as she was a piece rated worker. They were hit hard by the pandemic and found no way to mitigate the crisis.

Descrying the vulnerability of Rasitha’s family, BDS aided Rasitha with 30 plants of spine gourd to dilate the income and to cover the cost of living. With the cultivation in their home garden, they were able to bore a yield of 10-15 kilograms per month of spine gourd and sell them in the local market for LKR 300 per kilogram. On occasions the only meal for the entire family was spine gourd curry and a rice. She also expected to expand the cultivation further, as a sustainable approach to avoid any unpredicted crisis that may occur in the future. BDS being the continuous pillar of support for Rasitha and her family, was able to sooth the monumental tragedy of COVID-19 and help them achieve a tranquil life.

It Creates Dual Benefits to the Families in Divulwewa Village

BDS Beneficiary: S. Dinapala

LOCATION: Kahatagasdigiliya, Anuradhapura

S. Dinapala (85) living in Diulwewa village (Kudapattiya GND in Kahatagasdigiliya GND of Anuradhapura District) with his wife Valli Ethana (82) & his differently abled son was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu). Unfortunately, with remorse, his wife along with the child was also diagnosed as CKDu patients since the past six years. Eight CKDu patients including this Dinapala’s were identified at Diulwewa Village by the end of 2019. According to the expertise of CKDu preventing programs, “using contaminated drinking water” has been discerned as the major fact to the increase in CKDu patients. In response to this, Berendina Development services (BDS) partnering with HSBC Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) installed a water purification plant in Diulwewa village by the end of 2019 creating accessibility to safe drinking water for 350 Families including this special family. As per the concept of the project, “Water Committee” has to allocate considerable amount (at least Rs. 10,000) from the monthly profit of water project to support for CKDu affected families in Diulwewa village. Dinapal’s family has been selected to provide monthly allowance for their medical treatments & committee has decided to initially provide Rs. 500/- per month, 2021 onwards.

Little Help Can Change the Story

BDS Beneficiary: Thewapoomalar

LOCATION: Paththinipuram Village, Trincomalee

Thewapoomalar living in Pathinipuram village with her son is the breadwinner and a wage worker who is 50 years old. She earns LKR 700/- per day working 15 days per month on average. The son who was to face the GCE Ordinary Level examination in the year 2021 faced privation due to the low income of his mother.

In 2019, BDS introduced groundnut cultivation to Pathinipuram village, Tricomalee district as a group base livelihood intervention. 20 vulnerable rural farmers were selected and formed a “farmer’s group” to ensure the long-term sustainability of this project. As a result of empowering famers as group, they were able to construct an agriculture well with the funds from the agriculture department and carry out registration as a farmer’s organization. BDS had contributed LKR 270,000 to this project and provided groundnuts seeds, technical training and an “Inter cultivator” machine for the farmer’s group. Currently, 14 famers out of 20 has completed harvesting their 2nd cycle of the groundnut cultivation and ready to start the 3rd cultivation cycle. Thewapoomalar was selected to the farmer group as one of the groundnuts cultivating farmers and received 20 kg groundnuts seeds after the completion of technical training given by the Agriculture Department. She had harvested around 500kg and earned near LKR 45,000 from the 1st cultivation cycle and earned a similar amount in 2nd cycle as well. She would also be involved in the land preparation activities for the 3rd cycle in her idling time.

As result of her hard work and dedication, her son has been able to attend extra classes without any financial burdens. She is also able to use her excess time efficiently for her cultivation works. Here we were able to witness how a little help was a succor for the family towards a better future.

A Strong Launching Pad for a Motivated Youth

BDS Beneficiary: R. A. Iroshima Thilakshi

LOCATION: Dewanampiyatissa Pura, Anuradhapura

R. A. Iroshima Thilakshi was 21 years and lived in Dewanampiyatissa Pura, Anuradhapura. Her father worked as a labor at the Anuradhapura Municipal Council and her mother was a micro credit client at BMIC. With the loan she obtained, she invested it into her readymade clothes selling business which enabled her to earn a monthly income of Rs. 5,000. Iroshima also provided help to her mother’s business during her excess time.

With all the difficult conditions at home front, Iroshima got through her G.C.E. (O/L) examinations in 2015 and continued her education in G. C. E. (A/L) examination in the field of Commerce. After the completion of her A/L studies in 2019, Iroshima wanted to improve her skills for employment prospects but her family condition was unfortunately not conducive enough to spend for any further education or trainings. Luckily, she came to knowledge about BDS through her mother and how it supports youth such as Iroshima by offering scholarships to follow vocational training courses to improve their skills and to find productive employments opportunities.

Understanding her eagerness in securing a bright future and the challenges she faced at home front financially, BDS selected Iroshima and offered a scholarship to enroll her into a Soft Skill Training course namely, Accelerated Skills Acquisition Program at IDM Achievers Campus, Anuradhapura. She successfully completed the training in 2020.

After the conclusion of Soft Skill Training course in Jan 2020, she decided to find a suitable employment to support her family financially. She came to know of a job opening available at BMIC, Anuradhapura and applied for the same. With her sound educational background and soft skills training knowledge, she was able to secure the post of Assistant Accounts and Administrative Officer in January 2020. Iroshima presently earns a monthly salary of Rs. 23,000 which greatly supports her family’s needs. While continuing her work, she also had plans to complete her AAT course and CIMA which will greatly contribute towards achieving her aspirations of becoming an Accountant.

“I never expected my career path will become so successful but thanks to the timely scholarship offer given by Berendina to follow a vocational training course, it aided to launch my career prospects,” exclaims Iroshima thankfully. She further states, “Berendina’s support for youth like me is simply unmatched and a greatly beneficial as we come from challenging backgrounds. It it is indeed a strong helping hand to transform our future to great heights.”

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