For a long time, one of the things we’ve tried to do is set up a women’s co-operative with the aim of providing a long term, sustainable income for them. A while back we were approached by Frances at Wadham College who knew of the work we do in Sri Lanka and whose mother had visited Sri Lanka before the 2004 Tsunami and several times since. They knew of a group of women who made clothing using sewing machines and operated outside a hotel in the south of the island but who lost everything in the Tsunami.
They asked whether we could try and find them and provide them with a new machine on their behalf. Udaya, whose family still live in the region, made few phone calls and astonishingly, discovered that the four women were indeed still selling clothes from the same location. When told that a group wanted to provide them with a new sewing machine, they sighed “oh, another false promise by tourists?” Two days after making the original call, the ladies got on a bus for two hours and were then presented with a new machine on which they can make their own clothes to sell on. They were seriously overwhelmed!
With Frances we will try and help raise money for more machines - which is rather fitting given the origins of the FODAD was to provide lasting relief to those affected by the Tsunami – and give local women their own chance to succeed in business.
Si Lanka is a remarkable country, and remarkable things can happen