In conjunction with the International Women's Day, SANASA Group held a special program under the theme 'Let’s be the Change' at the Navarangahala, Royal College recently. Marking the beginning of a series of women-centered programs, plans are underway to implement a comprehensive island-wide awareness campaign encompassing the key drivers including women, children, family and the environment. SDB bank Chairperson Samadanie Kiriwandeniya expressed her views on the tremendous contribution made by SANASA Movement, an organisation strongly backed by a majority of women, towards uplifting the living standards of the local women. Following are excerpts:
This year's commemoration of Women's Day has become quite special as women have earned a higher representation in local government areas. As SANASA Movement, we intend to collaborate with the new Local Government agents and implement a broad scale plan at regional level for the benefit of our women.
This year's theme for Women's Day is 'Let’s be the Change'. Changes have taken place not only in households, but also in the society in general. Issues pertaining to economic, environmental, social security and the emotional unrest of children have driven the society to a crucial state. We believe that it’s time to change the situation, and without expecting someone else to bring the change we need to initiate the change. For this, women should start thinking not as victims but as citizens who have rights and responsibilities to get engaged and lead the change.
SANASA Movement has made a tremendous contribution towards empowering women. Our movement is backed by 54% of women. For 40 long years, we have been able to provide a conducive environment to build a strong women's force as a result of inculcating entrepreneurship and income generating means among rural communities.
One of the key milestones of this drive is the establishment of SANASA Women’s College at the SANASA Campus in Kegalle. We also offer guidance to our women entrepreneurs working in tandem with SANASA Movement, with provision to enter the market without any intervention from intermediaries. Not only through SANASA Movement, but also through institutions viz. SANASA University, Uththamavi Institute, Insurance Company and SDB bank, we have taken specific measures to empower women. As SANASA Movement, we intend to lead our women towards a higher objective within the next 10 years.
At this juncture, we believe women should act more intelligently and cautiously. It’s of utmost importance that a woman should identify the needs of her own as well as of her family. Gaining sufficient knowledge and discipline to meet essential needs, without falling into market gimmicks is a quintessential trait for a woman.
In a matriarchal society, a family revolves around the mother of the household. Hence, it’s pivotal for a mother to properly manage the household tasks. Disarray occurs in a household when a mother fails to fulfill this duty. Therefore, it is essential for women to pay more attention on these areas. Through Uththamavi program, we have taken steps to build awareness on these factors amongst the women.
Many women resort to foreign employment to alleviate financial crises. However, such decisions have led to numerous issues affecting the respective household as well as the society. Women take such decisions when they find no other alternatives. And this is why SANASA Movement has come forward to empower such women and guide them towards successful income generating activities.
We feel that, when striving to improve our assets, we need to act based on a new vision. One of the major issues of the society is having a higher ‘Dependent Population’ in comparison to ‘Independent Population’. Instead of simply saving, this calls for a more pragmatic approach in improving assets. Therefore, it’s important to contemplate on utilising the hard earned money for a successful investment. For example, if one wishes to target a sum of Rs. 10 million in ten years, then it’s imperative to decide on a proper investment plan to follow in order to achieve the target.
SANASA Movement has given a prominent place for women, and also implements various programs including Uththamavi in order to appreciate their true values. Since ancient times, Sri Lankan women have been known to be courageous and wise. Through proper investment of time, money and strength, the local women can successfully contribute towards the advancement of the country. Therefore, we intend to empower Sri Lankan women through SANASA Movement led by Uththamavi initiative, while appreciating the local women as our strongest and most valuable asset.