Socio Economic Development
It is estimated that there are over 50,000 women headed households in the Northern Province (Jaffna, Killinochi and Mullaitivu districts ) largely due to the war. Vast number of these women were housewives and during the war found themselves being the head of the family, usually with an extended family to support, in most cases still living in a temporary housing and no means of an income.
The Socio-economic projects are focused on helping women to lead a healthy life, educate them on personal hygiene, household and environmental sanitation and most importantly encourage them to pursue productive self- sustainable livelihoods.
CORD Sri Lanka started its micro credit program, modelled on CORD India’s successful program, in Batticalao in 2005 where it has reached a self sustainable model that includes more than 300 women. It’s success made it the new form of micro-banking in village communities. Since then it has expanded to Ramboda in Central Sri Lanka to help the women in plantation communities to earn extra income and has made a positive impact in their lives.
The same model was brought to the North in 2010 to help the war widows to find a suitable livelihood. The program has faced some hurdles here as these women have faced trauma and loss that have caused lasting damage. In addition, no time and opportunity to grieve, at times not able to perform last rites to their loved ones, injuries, experience of death firsthand, crippling poverty, loss of all belongings have all caused a sense of imbalance in their lives.
The regulations at that time did not allow any NGO’s to offer counselling and the scope of assistance provided was extremely limited and monitored.
Micro credit loans and Self Help Groups were not received well in the North initially. There was an expectation for monetary aid and they failed to see the long term view. Entrepreneurship was not valued and there was not many skills that they could translate to a livelihood. With time, the program is receiving a warm welcome from underprivileged women who can see the long term advantage of the program and other benefits that are part of it including small business and skill training, exposure and community building
The overall objective of this project is to support women to have a dignified and self-sufficient life and have the ability to provide and support their families.