Amma: Dedicated to market products from women’s SMEs

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Sarah Hannan ‘By empowering a woman you are empowering the whole family’ is a slogan that is frequently used in almost all women empowerment forums and projects. In the post conflict era of economic progress Sri Lanka has seen many women headed households. Most of these women come from difficult financial and social backgrounds where they are compelled to be the breadwinner for their families. Many of these women are affected by the war and are left to care for the ageing parents who also happen to live in the same household. Moreover they are faced with the challenge of nourishing their children who are still attending school and ensure the children receive a proper education. By identifying their talents and skills and encouraging them to start off an enterprise will not only allow them to care and provide for the family, but also allow them to contribute towards the country’s economic growth. A store dedicated to market the products by a group of women involved in Small and Medium Enterprise was recently opened at 45, D.M. Colombage Mawatha, Colombo 05. The store is part of the women empowerment project carried out by Women In Management (WIM) and Coca-Cola 5BY20 and the items on sale are made available at wholesale price. The ceremonial opening was attended by members of WIM and representatives from Coca Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Child Development Additional Secretary Asoka Alawatte, Community Services Head for Maradana Suduwella divisional secretariat Nelum Welihinda and Coordinator to the Deputy Mayor of Colombo Dhammika Dharmaratne. Sharing her thoughts on the initiative Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Child Development Additional Secretary Asoka Alawatte stated that the Government has identified that when a woman is empowered it automatically empowers the whole family: “There have been many programs conducted in the Western Province to provide training programs to women from low-income households and women headed households. Women In Management along with Coca-Cola 5BY20 has now opened a space to market these products and have mentored these women to progress in their business as well. This is just a foundation laid by the two organisations and I wish they would flourish in the coming days.” Case Study Harisha Thumari who hails from Maradana has benefited from the women empowerment programs done by the Western Provincial Council. She was introduced to WIM through Dhammika Dharmaratne who is the Coordinator to the Deputy Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council. Harisha a self-employed woman with a vibrant smile shared her thoughts on how WIM had assisted her to become a better entrepreneur. “In the day to day life even if we are doing some sort of work we do not think deeply to manage the finance from our earnings. After attending a workshop executed by WIM I learnt that a business needs to have a plan. Working according to the laid out business plan allows me to manage my finances and monitor the progress of my business as well,” Harisha added. Harisha is a reseller of Oriflame products and apart from that stitches bed linen. She is also working as a volunteer to create awareness among women from low-income households and has managed to encourage them to attend workshops conducted by WIM. She is thankful to Dhammika for introducing her to this program. Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe