Hopes of a better future…

BDS Beneficiary: Nadeesha Lakmali Jayasundera

LOCATION: Thirapane, Anurdhapura

Nadeesha Lakmali Jayasundera (20) lives in Thirappane in the Anuradhpura District. Her father is a farmer and also works part-time at the Road Development Authority. Nadeesha’s mother is a housewife and Nadeesha also has two younger sisters. Nadeesha and her sister’s do not even have a desk to study in their home. In spite of this, Nadeesha obtained 2 A’s and a B for her Advanced level examination in 2012 in the Arts stream and was also ranked 137 in the Anurdhapura district. In 2013, Nadeesha was selected to the faculty of Humanities at the University of Kelaniya and is currently pursuing a B.A in Korean, Sinhala and Mass Communication.

Nadeesha was a beneficiary of a monthly BDS scholarship of Rs.1000 for two years for her Advanced level Examination. Nadeesha states that this assistance given by BDS greatly assisted her family in paying for the private extra classes required for the Advanced level examination. Nadeesha states that when she was pursuing her ordinary level examination, her family could not afford to send her for any extra classes and she felt this was a big disadvantage to her.

Talking about her future plans, Nadeesha states that she hopes to specialize in the Korean language at University and stated that she was very grateful for the assistance given to her to achieve her dream of an university education.  Plans are already being made by BDS to continue supporting Nadeesha for her university education as her family is not in a position support her with this.

Cultivating their paddy lands after 3 years

LOCATION: Oyamaduwa, Anuradhpura

J.M Piyasena (62) a farmer in the village of Oyamaduwa in Anuradhpura  district is very happy these  days, he can finally cultivate his paddy field after a lapse of three years. The Nikaweratiya Anicut located in Alyapattuwa, in Oyamaduwa is around hundred years old and benefits approximately 40 acres of paddy cultivation in the area and around 40 farming families .The paddy lands benefitting the Anicut have been owned by these families for nearly 200 years.

In 2010, the spillway of the anicut was badly damaged as a result of a flood. The families utilizing the anicut used temporary measures, such as using sand bags to cover the spillway, but this did not prove to be very successful and as a result these farmers could not cultivate their paddy lands for a period of three years. Although various requests were made to Government officials to repair the spillway, this also proved to be futile.

In 2013, the farmers finally sought the assistance of BDS to repair the spillway. BDS provided the skilled labour, equipment and material  required for the project amounting to Rs. 445,500. The 40 farmer’s formed a special farmers organization named ‘ Dilena tharu govi sanvidanaya’ for the purpose of repairing the Anicut and provided the manual labour as well as a contribution of Rs. 237,500 towards the project. The total cost for the project was Rs. 683,000. The collaborative project was completed in October 2013, within a period of 1 ½ months.

Mr. Asoka Wijewardena, the president of the farmer’s organization states “We are very happy for the assistance given to us by the Berendina organization, even the Government was not willing to assist us, we were unable to cultivate our lands for three years and now 40 families can now cultivate their paddy lands and are very happy”.

Assistance to EIP family

BDS Beneficiary: Kanagaratnam and K. Palaniyaai

LOCATION: Carolina Estate, Watawala, Nuwara Eliya

Kanagaratnam (85) and his wife K. Palaniyaai (80) live in the Binnoya division in the Carolina Estate in Watawala in the Nuwara Eliya District. They have six grown up children who are all married and living away from home and no body to care for them.

Kanagaratnam and his wife are both former estate workers and have worked on the Estate for nearly 25 years.  In 1997, Kanagaratnam was diagnosed with cancer and he also suffers from high blood pressure. His wife also suffers from Asthma and she too is now very fragile and unable to work. These dire conditions resulted in them begging for food for their survival.  There were many days where they did not even have a single meal.

The couple was selected for the Economically Inactive Poor (EIP) scheme by Berendina Development Services and started to receive a monthly assistance of Rs. 1,000 in dry rations since October 2008. Now the couple no longer begs for their food and is able to prepare their own food at home. BDS has also provided medicine for Kanagaratnam’s blood pressure and he visits a monthly clinic at a nearby hospital to monitor his condition.

Kanagaratnam states “I’m so thankful to Berendina for supporting me and my wife in our difficult times and for continuing this assistance for many years.

Living thanks to Berendina…

BDS Beneficiary: Bala Menike and A.G Heen Appu

LOCATION: Thirapane, Anurdhapura

Bala Menike (70) and A.G Heen Appu ( 85) live in Thirapane in the Anurdhapura district.  Balamenike has been suffering from Asthma for over 10 years and her husband Heen Appu has been suffering from chronic bronchitis and Asthma for over 20 years. He is also a heart patient.  The couple has two grown up daughters who are married and now live away from home.

The couple had earned their livelihood by performing various odd jobs in the past. Being an elderly couple their only source of income now is the Rs. 1000 monthly charity allowance given by the Government. Due to their medical problems the couple is required to make monthly doctor’s visits to the nearby town of Galkulama. They are also prescribed a regimen of medications for their medical problems. BDS has been providing medical allowances of Rs.1000 each to Bala Menike and Heen Appu since 2009 and these monthly medical allowances greatly assists them with the transport required for their monthly doctor’s visits and also for purchasing some of their medications. BDS has also gifted a wheel chair to Heen Appu  who is unable to stand up properly as a result of an injury sustained from falling off a tree many years ago. The wheel chair is also very helpful when he needs to make his monthly doctor’s visits.

About 6 years ago Bala menike had also lost her vision in both eyes due to cataracts and BDS had  provided assistance for Balamenike’s cataract operations and now Balamenike has once again regained  good vision in both her eyes.

Balamenike states” We live thanks to Berendina, if not for Berendina we would not have anybody to assist us in our old age, we are very grateful for the assistance given to us”.

On the path of victory…

BDS Beneficiary: Kanagarasa Gowshika

LOCATION: Verugal, Echilampattu, Trincomalee

Kanagarasa Gowshika (Age 40) lives in Verugal, Echilampattu in the Trincomalee district. Gowshika is a single mother of two young daughters. For her survival and to look into the needs of her daughters, she started a small business of purchasing rice in bulk and selling it to households in her area with Rs. 2000 of her savings a few years ago. Through this, she was able to sell 200 Kg of rice and earn a profit of Rs. 1,500 per month. During the paddy harvest time, she also works in the paddy fields as a laborer and is also able to save some money through this activity. In 2013 Berendina Development Services (BDS) identified Gowshika as a beneficiary for its livelihood assistance program. Gowshika was provided with 200 Kg of rice by BDS as livelihood assistance to improve her business. Gowshika also expanded to selling tea, sugar, onions, green chilies and beetle leaves from the profit she earned from her rice selling business.

Now, Gowshika’s profit from her business is Rs. 5000 per month. This helps her support her children’s educational needs, especially to buy uniforms, shoes, school bags and exercise books. The village people who looked down on Gowshika because of her poverty now show more respect towards Gowshika and her children as they are now in a better position in life.

Since, there aren’t any grocery shops in her area, Gowshika also hopes to obtain a loan from the Berendina Microfinance Institute (BMI) and start a small scale grocery shop in her village. 

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