It was yet another memorable day for a group of Youth in the Eastern region in Batticaloa on 19th November. 19 Carpenters and 17 Masons selected after the usual screening by MJFCF received their needs of tools and equipment at a simple event arranged by the partners of MJFCF – Pastor Ravi. This was the 2nd phase of the Small Entrepreneurship Programme (SEP) in Batticaloa completed by MJFCF in 2011. Earlier in July this year MJFCF provided tools and equipment to strengthen 42 Bicycle repairers in Batticaloa and its rural suburbs such as Kaluvankerny, Thannamunai, Vavunathivu and Sethukudah.
Founder and Settlor of MJFCF Merrill J Fernando together with his Deputy - Himendra and Son Dilhan were personally present to give away the equipment and tools to the 37 recipients who were present with their families to grace the occasion.
Addressing the recipients, the Founder and Settlor briefly related how he started his tea business 62 years ago and even at that time he was ever willing to help his staff of about 18 persons with their personal needs. We have now grown to be a large organization and we still continue to help those who help us mainly in the plantations, in Hambantota, Jaffna, Ampara, Siyambalanduwa, Moneragala etc. He emphasized upon the recipients of this particular event to make good use of the opportunity they have got and wished that when he visits them next time he would like to see their Carpentry and Masonry business and trade flourishing and they be able to replicate what MJFCF was doing today, atleast in a small way to assist those lesser fortunate than them.
He also reminded the gathering yet again that “We come to this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. And the wealth some of us accrue is because of the support and co-operation of many around us and therefore lets share that wealth with others whilst we are still around so that we can make this world a better place for every one” and that is why he and his Foundation was doing such projects to support all those who support them with their business ventures, truly demonstrating that at MJFCF and Dilmah “Business always is a matter of human service”.
Dilhan giving some useful advise to the emerging small entrepreneurs, requested them dedicate themselves fully and aim high to achieve their dream and they will definitely succeed. “You’ll have received these tools and equipment today so as to strengthen your trade and now its upto you to work hard with dedication and commitment to achieve greater successes and when you do that, try to help a few more with employment, preferably some physically handicapped youth. If you can do that, it would be the ideal reciprocation we can expect from you for what we are giving you today.” He also said that he was confident that atleast a handful of the 37 persons gathered here today will achieve that milestone. He further went on to say that “with you’ll receiving these tools and equipment today, MJFCFs SEP recipients have grown to 750 as of now”. He also earnestly requested them to “avoid wasteful expenditure on smoking and alcohol and save that money for your future when you will need it so badly”. He stressed that every one should commence saving from today which the MJFCF will monitor very closely and we will evaluate their progress 1 year from today and if there is significant progress in their ventures and reasonable savings, such recipients will be considered for the 2nd stage support as well.
He also related how his father and Settlor of the MJFCF started life without anything, having been born to a normal family in a fishing village in Pallansena in Negombo. It was purely his hard work, dedication, commitment and his strong will to help those around him that had brought him to where he is today and that his Dilmah tea business has grown to be selling in 192 countries around the world. So “one of you’ll can also become like my father if you really try to do what he has been doing for the past 62 years”, concluded Dilhan.
The recipients thanked the Founder and Settlor of MJFCF and Dilhan and the MJFCF for their generosity and continued support to the people in the east and pledged to fulfill their expectations.
MJFCF will in due course arrange a basic training for Carpenters and Masons to enhance their knowledge and skills so as to enable them to use new methods and technology in masonry and carpentry trade and through that to reduce cost of work and increase their income capacities.
After event, Settlor and Founder, together with Dilhan and Himendra visited Somapala and Vincent, recipients of the previous SEP for Bicycle repairers in their workshops and inquired of their progress and their business.