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Community Development

Livelihood Development Project

Lives and properties have sacrificed to the Indian Ocean due to resent Tsunami disaster. Livelihoods of citizens in Sri Lanka have destroyed against their sights. Therefore, we had to go towards them to assist with their survival. Thus, HELP‐O started, initially, to collect real information of affected people and property. Then, they are divided into two separate categories in order to distribute relevant benefits.
  1. Micro business
  2. Handicraft
  3. Street vendors

Then we have formed small groups including 15 maximum numbers of members in each group. And they are encouraged to save their income for sustainable development. This small savings groups will instruct to form a co‐operative society called “Micro finance & Housing co‐operative Bank society”. We have distributed goods 645 people for Micro business and 400 vendors and Street vendors they have started their own business. HELP‐O has been following a special procedure of distributing goods. That is to provide training programs for beneficiaries before distribute aid. Those are as follows:

Awareness program on,

  1. Marketing Strategies
  2. Book keeping and managing their day to day finances
  3. Invention of new products
  4. Savings System
  5. Expand the business
  6. Marketing of sales items and presentation
  7. How to get loans and repay them.

People will receive tool kit to restart their livelihood only after successfully completing those trainings. Another special procedure that HELP‐O under take is “follows up” after donation. 50% of the values people have received for their livelihood have to be repaid to their small savings group that we have formed. They will be able to take loans for their livelihood development or housing necessary.

We also involved forming Street vendors Association in Galle city and distributing tool kits for them to develop their business. Street vendors Association have been conducting weekly meetings in their business place to discuss their issues and needs. HELP‐O also assists to conduct exhibition in order to introduce International Market for everyone who receive aid from HELP‐O.

We are seeking to expand this program for other districts too. Handicraft makers who benefited by livelihood projects is being instructed to form “Handicraft Association”. Local and International buyers are capable of ordering crafts through this Association, so that they can ensure the quality of the products.

Fisheries Project for Livelihood Development

The people living in coastal area were the seriously affected community by the Tsunami disaster on 26th of December 2004. It is about 60% of them subjected to fisheries. Their one and only source of living was destroyed. Their Land, resident and properties were destroyed and also some of valuable lives of family members. Despite all of these, the loss of their source of income and insistence of lives were directed to raise a numerous issue on break downing their mentality. Having observed all those issues that fishermen faced, British High Commission and HELP‐O started a process to assist fisheries to enhance their development.

*Bicycles Donation

The fish sellers affected due to tsunami had no way to start their business. Therefore, we decided to distribute 100 bicycles with tools and fish selling box.

* Boats Donation

We have distributed 25 boats with nets in order to assist fishermen, who affected by tsunami disaster, in order to initiate their source of income.

Objectives of the Project

01. Strengthen the fisheries community
02. Assist to rehabilitate several families instead of rehabilitating one family
03. Strengthen them to successfully face disasters
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Micro Finance Program for Community Empowerment

HELP‐O’s microfinance unit issues small loans to the rural poor who cannot qualify for traditional banking credit. Micro‐finance is often seen as the only way they can establish a business and lift themselves out of poverty. In 2006, we received two loans from Norwegian NGO, The Stromme Foundation, totaling 12.2 Million rupees. As a result of this, we have issued loans to 884 individuals this year and our default rate is less than 1% so far.

To be eligible for a micro‐finance loan from HELP‐O, individuals must be members of a small community saving group, part of the Housing and Livelihood People’s Company, set up by us. The individual applying for the loan needs to be certified by other members of the small savings group who act as guarantors if the individual fails to repay the loan. They then undergo a needs assessment to determine the financial risk associated with the loan. Loans are issued in amounts of 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 and 25,000 rupees to the villagers and are generally used to buy equipment or raw materials for their business. If someone defaults on the loan, everyone in the savings group is responsible. The microfinance project has been implemented in Matara and Weligama and is run through the HLDPC.

Alongside the loans, the Stromme Foundation provides funding for resource officers to assess the financial status of an applicant. They fund workshops to build up the skills and capacity of HELP‐O staff in areas such as office management, technical aspects of micro‐finance and project reporting and writing.

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