From dependency to self-employment
Client: Wijayalaxume Sebastian
Business: Catering service
Location: Mannar, Sri Lanka
Mrs. Wijayalaxume Sebastian from Andankulam, Mannar is another victim of Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009. Her husband was killed in the war and she lost her house and property. During the conflict she was displaced more than five times in just two years. Before finally resettling in Andankulam, she had to spend another two years in a camp for displaced people.
Upon return home she had to restart her life from zero. She was assigned a house by the Government Resettlement Program and was donated some kitchen utensils by an NGO. She began making lunch packets and selling them to nearby school teachers and construction workers.
Wijayalaxume then joined a local Rural Women Society and applied for a loan from ECLOF. With the loan of USD 190 she expanded to a catering service providing meals to weddings, funeral houses and school functions. To satisfy the growing demand – on some days she had to prepare 500 meal packets – she has hired four workers since. When recruiting, she specifically considered widows like herself to allow them to make a living. With her savings she has dug a tube well to supply water to her daily needs and to her small fruit and vegetable garden. She emphasized her happiness in seeing that she can now stand on her own feet facing the future in confidence.