Destruction near beach in Tangalle
Distribution of cooker for “string hoppers” at Tangalle Methodist Church
Bicycle for fish merchant family in Tangalle
In the next phase, we will support existing businesses with larger needs and start-up companies, such as a newly formed cooperative of four families, which needs equipment to make cement blocks for house construction. The needed funds of $500 will be part donation and part soft loan. Another example is a heavily damaged beach guesthouse, run by an extended family with an unbreakable determination to start back up. With the large number of homes destroyed, the market obviously exists.
To date we have not supported the replacement or repair of damaged fishing boats even though there is a big need. The high cost of about $3000 for a typical motorized boat, the concern among fishermen that repaired boats may not be safe and unrealistic promises by the local government of giving new boats to everyone make the situation unstable. Thus, we decided to spread our funds to a larger number of recipients, of course including fishing nets and small canoes.
While it is frustrating that government and other NGOs so far have given very little livelihood support, we were very glad to see first hand that our concept of providing specific needed items directly to people who request them works. Even people traumatized by such a horrific event do want to start their lives back up and, if asked what they require, generally come up with their own ideas, most of them rather realistic, since they know their markets best.
In addition to continuing our work in Tangalle and Moratuwa we will now also support the recovery of small businesses in the Sri Lankan coconut fiber (coir) industry. Several SECONDAID team members have worked with that industry, which employs some 30,000 people in Sri Lanka’s coastal area and has lost much of its capacity in fiber production and yarn spinning in the South. Several donors, including the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) have requested that their donations be used to help that industry. SECONDAID now prepares a livelihood recovery project in cooperation with Coir Council International and REVIVE, a relief program by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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