I am a disabled woman of 34 years living in the village of Kandanegoda, Pugoda Sri Lanka. I am married with two children and my husband is a street vendor without regular income. I have been on a wheel chair for 10 years.
This was my situation when I had the opportunity to join Colombo District Business Development Cooperative Society credit scheme. As a paralyzed women who is on a wheel chair made me ignorant, hopeless and neither wanted to associate with anyone in the village. I preferred living alone with all my sorrows and problems, defeated by life. I did not have courage to face and associate with others. I didn’t have a regular income and I couldn’t meet my expenses. I was helped by my relatives and friends. But I didn’t want to resort to their help either and become a burden to anyone. I was highly worried about my situation.
Then I came to know about Colombo District Business Development Cooperative Society through one of my friends and gave my consent to join this project. Then I was approached by very kind woman, SadyaPriyadarshani, who is working for above organization as a field officer. She was a consoler and a good listener. She very clearly explained to me about their credit scheme which was funded by Rabo Bank Foundation Netherlands. Initially we had 30 members in our group and all have agreed to meet at my house once a month as I am a paralyzed woman. In the group we had the opportunity to share our life problems and we were able to console and encourage each other .For the first time in my life I felt that I was not a lonely person; that I am not the only one with hardship and there are people just like me.
I had an old sewing machine at home and started producing small clothes and mats with the raw material which we bought from our first loan of RS. 5000/-. I am so glad to say my husband helps me with marketing the production. He is now changed from being a mere street vendor. After a couple of months our members in the group pointed out if we can buy a bulk of material directly from a factory, we could buy at a lower rate. After that we were able to work as a group and earn a very high return.
Gradually we improved our business and took Rs. 10,000/- and Rs. 25,000/- loans respectively. Now I have 03 sewing machines and I have provided jobs for another 02 girls in the area. I am happy to say my two daughters are going to school and studying well. I have also started building my house.
I feel now that I am an ordinary person just like any other, despite my disability. I was in despair in the past but now a proud owner of a business earning a good living. I was a wife of a street vendor but now living with a changed person. I never expected my life to change so much and all these thanks to my family and Colombo District Business Development Cooperative Society.