Manel Rajkumar of D&R Exports (Araliya Products) won the Silver award in the Large Scale Enterprises Category at the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2018 ceremony organised by the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce Sri Lanka.
Rajkumar, who is an entrepreneur and a social worker, established the company (Araliya) with her husband Rajkumar in 1998 as a small scale enterprise and had managed to develop it into a successful business that brings foreign revenue into the country in the last 20 years.
Her business journey, which commenced from exporting lime pickle under the brand name Araliya, is proof that a woman can reach the zenith of the business world while fulfilling her responsibilities to her family. She started her business, which operated from her house with goods being transported using her small car, when her husband’s business ventures underwent a bad patch.
Currently the company exports a wide variety of processed and value added food items which include tempered dried fish, pol sambol, chutney, ambarella curry, mango curry, polos curry, pickle, dried fish pachchadi, dried fish moju and breadfruit, murunga, jack fruit, polos, kohila, kehel muwa in brine water, etc.
These products are exported to Australia, Dubai, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, etc. under the brand name of Araliya. Araliya is a well-known and very popular food brand in foreign countries. A large number of local farmers are supported by this initiative.
Rajkumar has provided direct and indirect employments to more than 200 people. She also travels throughout the country offering free lectures to women from disadvantages backgrounds on how to supplement the household income and to better manage their family economy.
“I lost my father when I was small. So I took over family responsibilities. I worked and earned money. The belief I had on All Mighty God also helped me to accomplish what I have,” she said.
She runs a shop at Good Market, each Saturday, which sells indigenous food and authentic rice and curry named Araliya.