Mrs. M. Shanthakumary, 50, lives in Eravur, eastern Sri Lanka. Her husband is an unskilled, low-paid laborer. In addition to two school-age children of their own, the couple has adopted a nine year-old Hindu girl.
A seasoned pottery maker, Mrs. Shanthakumary is a regular attendee and a secretary of Women’s Small Group (WSG), an indigenous network of small business owners established by CERI’s foster care program in eastern and southern parts of Sri Lanka. CERI has noticed Mrs. Shanthakumary’s hard work and awarded her loan in the amount of 10,000 Sri Lankan Rupees ($88) to jumpstart her pottery business.
Prior to receiving the loan, Mrs. Shanthakumary struggled to earn enough money to purchase clay. Her retail sales to neighbors only generated insignificant income, and a large portion of the family’s revenue had to be spent on the children’s education.
After obtaining a loan from the WSG, Mrs. Shanthakumary bought clay and molded a large number of pots, which she personally transported to, and sold at, a famous nine-day Temple festival.
“I’m very happy that I was able to earn a substantial profit in my pottery business in the summer of 2010. I spent nearly 20,000 Sri Lankan Rupees ($178 – editor’s note) and gained an income of 40,000 Rupees from this effort,” said Mrs. Shanthakumary.
“Now I am making a profit of about 20,000 Rupees per month. I’m also saving a portion of my profit to build a house. I’m anxious to obtain a larger loan to expand my business and to build a storage room for my materials. In pottery business, we need just a small amount of capital, mainly for clay, so it’s possible to get a sizeable return from a small investment. I thank CERI for providing me with a loan and for helping to improve my family’s life conditions,” she continued, with a big smile on her face.