While in Sri Lanka, I traveled to a city called Batticaloa. There, I visited Global Ministries partner, The Church of the American Ceylon Mission, where I visited with men and women who are directly impacted by microcredit programs. Microcredit programs are opportunities for people living in extreme poverty access to a small amount of capital to start their own business. Microcredit programs lend small amounts of money at low interest to new businesses in the developing world.
While on this journey I gained a friend named Rev. Jude. He works at a children’s home in Sri Lanka. Rev. Jude took me to meet people whose lives have been transformed after receiving microcredits. Those impacted include fishers, farmers, a store owner, and a peanut farmer. Microcredit loans provide an opportunity for women who are single or widowed to have a source of income and opportunity. One, in particular, is Kirubathas Premila. She is a member of the Valarvily self-help group. Innashi received a loan to open up a peanut farm which can be very lucrative in Sri Lanka. Peanuts are very popular in Sri Lanka and being able to sell them wholesale can provide great financial freedom. The microcredit loan she received has allowed her to start her own business and help those in her community.
Microcredit programs do not just help the individual. They also help small communities. This young woman is like many people in her community who have been given an opportunity. People who receive microcredit loans in her group find ways to support one another. When we visited her farm, her neighbors came over and welcomed us and spoke about how they support one another so that each person can succeed, which will allow another person to be given the same opportunity.