Community Based Organizations
The MJF CF supports Communities Based Organizations particularly in terms of smart, natural and organic farming that has viable income potential for members of the CBO. Since 2007, the SEP team has set up as well as provided capital to established CBOs. These are done following a stringent review process including the need for a sponsor or reference.
Walawa Kantha Ekamuthuwa
Walawa Kantha Ekamuthuwa is an all women community-based organization which was funded under the SEP programme. The collective gets regular orders to sew and finish garments from various sources. Rasika, the president of this CBO, runs a small-scale garment factory with a group of women in a village in Southern Sri Lanka and is supported by Dilmah’s Small Entrepreneurs Programme.
“There are 5000 blouses here, they were supposed to be delivered to retail stores in Colombo for the April New Year season last year - a time, our profits usually hit their peak. We suffered massive losses after the Easter tragedy then, and this year we are faced with a global pandemic and lockdown”. The COVID pandemic dealt a severe blow to small businesses, threatening the livelihoods of men and women like Rasika across Sri Lanka. When the Lockdown was imposed, orders started drying up and Rasika and her group were forced to withhold their production and reduce staffing. “We have spent the past two months trying to figure things out and keep going. In April, we sewed and donated safety kits to people on the front line and in response to our gesture, we received orders from the Embilipitiya Hospital for face masks and protective suits.
I always try to look for ways we can build on our strengths and innovate for the better. We have started sewing mosquito nets for local shops now. Business hits highs and lows but we have to adapt in order to thrive in the industry and I am not afraid to meet the challenge.” says Rasika with determination.