The existing livelihoods of the villagers in the Bolgoda Lake region especially those who were in the self employment section were carrying on their occupations in a very low key. Industries of Hand Loom weaving, patchwork , making of masks, coconut shell and bamboo craft etc. were the main areas of self employment. All these trades were granted financial assistance for the upliftment of their trades be EMACE as they were a neglected lot who had no way of expanding their businesses due to financial constraints.
One grant recipient in the Bolgoda Lake region managed to purchase 4 more handloom weaving machines apart from the one she had giving employment opportunities to a few others in the same area. She has now improved her business to a great extent that she hopes to go in for added value marketing systems in the near future.
There are about 300 families who indulge in the mask making industry in the Bolgoda Lake region. These craftsmen use the balsa timber as their raw material for the manufacturing of masks which in turn destroys the mangrove cultivation in the area. We have already stepped in to avert this situation by re planting the mangroves so that both the cultivation of mangroves as well as mask making will be sustainable. Grants have been issued to these craftsmen to improve the quality and the quantity of their produce.
Grants have also been issued for manufacturing coconut shell and bamboo ware as self employment schemes. They also were able to expand their businesses with more workers and thereby more output as the demand for eco friendly items is on the increase
Manufacturing cement flower pots
Manufacturing cement flower pots was another of our livelihood projects in the region. Loan facilities were granted for those who wish to indulge in this profession. Since flower culture has gained a prominent place in our society, the demand for flower pots has increased. This profession has enabled many enterprising youth to enhance their income. These youth have created many employment opportunities for many young people in the vicinity.
Apiculture is a another area where we have extended our services. One promising youth requested grant facilities to commence apiculture as a livelihood. We granted her request by facilitating financial assistance in the form of a repayable loan so that she could expand his occupation by purchasing a land for the above project. He has trained many youth in this field of apiculture where they have enhanced their livelihood income there by creating employment opportunities for many in the vicinity.
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Sri Lanka faced many natural disasters.