DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY To Make a Difference

Employment creates hope to lives

BDS Beneficiary: Thangaraj Salath

LOCATION: Kelaniwatta Village

Thangaraj Salath lived in Kelaniwatta village with her mother, father and sister. Her sister was working in the apparel trade as a machine operator and her father was a driver. Her disability was not a challenge to her with all the love she received from her family. But an unfortunate incident completely changed her life as she was impelled to play the role of the care taker of her family.

In 2016, Her father was found demised. With unexpected incident her sister’s mental health began to degrade causing her to lose her job. With the cease of both their income sources, the sister’s medical treatments became an additional burden to them.

Initially, they were fortunate to receive assistance from relations, but it was limited to a few months. Then after, Salath had to take a decision to start earning for her family, but as her disability was barrier it was difficult to find a job and was rejected from most.

In the meantime, she came to hear about the Yatiyanthota Multi Industrial Cooperative Society (YMICS), where she took the initiative to approach the office at Yatiyanthota to find a suitable employment opportunity. But, although she was 36 years old with no experience on a job also, the YMICS management decided to offer a job opportunity considering her situation. She was recruited as production helper of harness production center in 2016 and she is currently passing the fourth year of her career life with YMICS.

Currently, she earns around 17,000/- per month and she has been able to manage the living expenses of their family including the sister’s medical expenses utilizing her salary.

Families in Waltrim Estate Water Project Estate Benefited with a Water Scheme

BDS Beneficiary community: Waltrim Estate community

LOCATION: Nuwara Eliya

Safe water is an essential prerequisite for better health and socio-economic development. As water becomes more valuable and scarcity increases, conflict, death, and disease are by-products of water and its influence. In less fortunate countries, the battle is not just for water, but for safe and clean water, which is truly a matter of life and death. In the Nuwara Eliya district consisting of seven divisions with a total population of 4825 lies the Waltrim Estate. Water has been a major crisis to these plantation communities, as they either consumed water which was contaminated or the supply of water was inadequate. The plantation community faced snags in the consumption of safe drinking water and for their regular domestic usage. The existing water systems had leakages in the distribution and the water which was consumed for the drinking carried impurities and they had to reach the springs to get the water. Community of the Conon Division in Waltrim Estate faced struggles to manage their routine with the limited supply of water.

BDS, addressing the issues faced by the community of Conon Division at Waltrim Estate, renovated the existing water system which was worth of Rs 3.7 million, partnering with World Vision Lanka to cater to 90 families and forecasting 466 families by the year 2039. With the successful implementation of the renovation, the community now experience smooth flow of water supply to manage their domestic usage and as safe drinking water. They currently face minor health issues compared to the water consumption in their recent past.

A Permanent Shelter for Parameshwary & her Family

BDS Beneficiary: R. Parameshwary

LOCATION: Pedro Estate, Nuwara Eliya

R. Parameshwary, living in Moonplain Division in Pedro Estate has three children who are currently attending school. Her husband is unemployed due to a severe medical condition. Therefore, she is the sole breadwinner of the family, and struggles to keep up with her family expenses for the children, as well as the medical expenses for the husband. They have been living in a temporary shed constructed in the brother-in-law’s land for the past 15 years. It has only one room, where they do all activities such as cooking, studying and sleeping. Her daughters face difficulties in conducting their studies due to insufficient space. They have only one bed, and is mainly occupied by her ill husband. Two years ago, one of her daughters were caught on fire while sleeping close to the hearth, and was admitted to the hospital for two weeks.

 

Recently, her brother-in-law forced her to evacuate the house. Although they tried to obtain a new living place through the estate management, political parties and the government, it was not successful. Upon hearing the services that BDS provide for economically inactive families, Parameshwary applied for a housing scheme with the support of the estate management, and was successfully granted a house with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a toilet, along with water supply and electricity. “My children now have space to study. I am very thankful to BDS for providing us with a house to live in, and wish to extend my sincere gratitude”, says Parameshwary.

safety Net for Pushpalatha’s Family

BDS Beneficiary: D.G. Chandrani Pushpalatha

LOCATION: Kithulgala

D.G. Chandrani Pushpalatha who is 39 years old is one of the women employed at Cargo Net Production Centre in Kithulgala.  She lives with her husband and two children. She has a son who is studying for his O/L’s, and a daughter who is in grade three. Chandrani’s husband is a daily laborer, and does not have a continuous income since his income is dependent on the amount of work available. Chandrani has 7 years of experience working in a garment factory, prior to getting involved in cargo net production centre. She has also worked in a tea factory for a year, but that income alone is not sufficient to fulfil her family’s needs.

Chandrani’s employment at Cargo Net Production Center has brought tremendous relief to her family and is now able to cover her children’s educational expenses. She is an energetic employee and is able to weave around four nets per day, accumulating to a total of 100 nets per month. She takes home a monthly salary of Rs. 17,000. Together with her husband’s labor work, they now have a family income of Rs. 35,000 a month. Although there are no fixed working hours for those working in the Cargo Net Production Centre, they are remunerated according to the number of pieces assembled. This flexibility provides women the opportunity to look into the needs of their families, and attend to domestic matters, without compromising their ability to earn an income. Chandrani however finds it easy to drop off her children to school in the morning and report to work. Therefore, her working hours are from 7am – 5pm. In the near future, she hopes to start a tea cultivation in her land and has further plans to renovate their home through a loan.

Aged but Lead

LOCATION: Horowpothana, Anuradhapura

Parangiyawadiya is a small village located in Horowpathana town in Anuradhapura district, located 7km away from Horowpathana town. A total of 64 families reside in the village. The most commonly found livelihoods are paddy farming, chena cultivation and animal husbandry. These livelihoods are also very common among elders living in the village, leaving barely any time for them to participate in any leisure activities. It is also found that, most of the elders suffer from non-communicable diseases such as CKDu, and often obtain treatment from government hospitals.

Upul Elders’ Society was established and registered under the government to reduce the stress encountered by elders in Parangiyawadiya village and improve their mental health. However, due to lack of active members in the society and poor administration, the society was not functioning properly. Subsequently, BDS in partnership with Help Age Sri Lanka (HASL) intervened to jointly implement a project called “Promoting Active Ageing by Introducing Health Care Systems, while Ensuring Income Security”.

BDS & HASL provided interventions to improve health and eye sight among elders and further provided capacity building trainings, including leadership management trainings, book keeping and financial record keeping. The society was subsequently re-established, and a monthly fee is collected. BDS conducted mobile medical camps with support from the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) in the area, and those identified to be suffering from diseases were referred to government hospitals, and cataract operations were facilitated for those who were identified to be suffering from cataract. BDS also provided spectacles to those with poor vision.

In order to improve physical and mental wellbeing of elders in the village, the members continue to visit older and disabled people in the village on a monthly basis, with the hope of bringing joy and happiness to their lives. They further organize monthly ‘bodhi pooja’ in the village temple, and shramadana to clean the environment to eliminate Dengue. These activities are jointly implemented with women and youth societies in the village. BDS further assisted to organize the society’s annual trip that intend to increase mental health and wellness of members. 

With the guidance of BDS and HASL, Upul society is also able to address burning social issues such as lack of access to clean water in the village. Subsequently, they now provide 1000 liters of clean drinking water to the government hospital every month, thereby serving their village. While the society has gained respect among villagers, their memberships have also increased.

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