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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tsunami-affected small scale entrepreneurs back in business

The Island: 21/11/2006" By Sunil C. Perera

Tsunami affected small-scale entrepreneurs and housewives of the Trincomalee district have begun a new life after assistance provided by the NGOs and INGOs to restart their own businesses.

The entrepreneurs said they need government assistance to find new markets, financial assistance from commercial banks and permanent buildings to expand their industries.

Most of the small-scale entrepreneurs produce ornamental goods, flower vases, ready-made garments, wall clocks, sweets and dehydrated food items .

The Reconstruction Development Agency [RADA] and the International Labour Organization [ILO] have organized a market entry point for these entrepreneurs in Trincomalee recently.

According to the RADA spokesman Bandula Nissanka, RADA and the ILO have introduced market entry points for tsunami-affected entrepreneurs to display their products before local and international NGOs, government officials, media and the large-scale entrepreneurs .

"We invite these entrepreneurs to display their products at exhibitions of livelihood development programmes in each tsunami affected districts. This is the key entry point for a market, he said. Speaking to media representatives of NGOs and INGOs. he said the NGOs are keen to support the affected entrepreneurs and also agreed to provide market links for them.

Ms M. Taahura of Kinniya said they are now engaged in the sewing industry, but face great difficulties to market their products.

We need a market and a display centre in a main town. At present I manage my industry with assistance from the family members, she said.

The affected entrepreneurs said most of commercial banks still avoid releasing bank loans to improve their industries.

Ranjith Sisira, another tsunami affected entrepreneur of the Abeyapura, Trincomalee said he produces ornamental goods using coconut shells and sea shells. However, at present he produces these products in a cadjan hut .

We could produce quality goods, but there is no proper place to set up the industry and provide jobs for jobless youth in our area, he said.

According to the divisional secretaries of the Trincomalee district, plans are underway to set up a display centre and establish workshops for the affected entrepreneurs.

One of divisional secretaries of the district said she has already dealt with the Samurdhi Authority to construct a three-story building for these entrepreneurs.

"We are waiting for funds from the state, she said. According to the Chairman of the Export Development Board, Bryan Agunawala, the EDB is interested in assisting these entrepreneurs to become exporters.

"If they discuss matters with us, we could introduce international and local buyers to them, Agunawala said.

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