Providing livelihood opportunities for communities in Kallarai, Jaffna

28 Apr 2010

Kallarai is a small village consisting of around 77 families, situated in the Mallakam South GN division in the Jaffna District. Located close by, in the same GN division is the village of Nariyiddan, home to around 40 families. Majority of the residents of these villages are former IDP’s who have now resettled themselves in this area. With many women headed households and no real income generating activities for women, these villagers have been identified as highly vulnerable communities.

With hope of developing the livelihood opportunities of these families, the UNDP conducted Generate Your Business /Start Your Business training programmes for 25 women in the area. 70% of the beneficiaries were from women headed households and the programme focused on micro enterprise development, with the intention of increasing livelihood opportunities and improving access to micro finance facilities.

Natkunam Kalpana is one of the 25 beneficiaries who received micro finance support from UNDP-TRP. She is a student of the Jaffna University. Kalpana’s father who is a patient is unable to contribute to the families finances. The family’s sole income comes from her mother, who works as a laborer. Kalpana’s younger sister is a student of the Vavuniya College of education. Her brother went missing in 2006 while he was studying at the Jaffna University. In addition to the mental anguish caused by the brother’s disappearance, the family suffered economically because of their insufficient income, which hardly covered the food and educational needs.

Under the UNDP-TRP intervention Kalpana got the opportunity to follow the GYB/ SYB training programme. She was also supported with Micro credit facilities for Poultry farming. With this money she started her own poultry farm, which she attends to when she does not have lectures at the University.

“Earlier I was unable to meet all the expenses of my family. But now from the income we get from poultry farming I can manage the expenses.  I am able to spend this income for my children’s education as well as for food and other expenses of the family. I really want my children to study well and I don’t want them to suffer like me because of being uneducated. Now I am satisfied that my children are studying well” says Kalpana’s mother.

Kalpana says, “my mother still works as a laborer because we are unable to meet all the expenses of our family with this income alone. But we save some amount to invest further in this poultry farming and to develop it for future needs. But once I develop this poultry farm and earn more income I will tell mother not to go for work, I know its a hard job for her. We repay the loan by monthly installments. Up to now we have repaid Rs 2715. We need to repay this money because there are many other vulnerable families like ours who need this financial support. Right now, on an average we earn Rs 3000 per month from poultry farming. I really want to thank the UNDP for helping us to overcome our vulnerability. Our family will never forget this help and we will be thankful to the UNDP forever”.