The Micro Credit Program managed by Zariya was still a big success. For the time being there were 23 Credits given, including a second one to the luckless widow with the stolen goats.
All of her payments had been made! The ONLY failure was the credit to the widow that had left the country and who was working according to her relatives in the UAE (United Arab Emirates).
Chammi was again the most outstanding business woman. She proudly showed us her little shop and told us that she planned to enlarge the shop – only by two square meters but she would have a shopping window afterwards. Her landlord would let her have the shop rent free for three months in exchange, as this would add to the value of his property.
It would be hard at the beginning but she would have repeating customers in the meantime. She would have to stay there for at least two years to get a good reputation. After that she would plan to move her shop closer to the town. Blatantly proud, she introduced us to a male tailor she had been able to employ.
Monika, the girl who was dumb (unable to speak) was still working for her. The other girl had been discharged as she had not been able to improve.
Along with her work she was taking care of her old father and her 8 year old niece, whose mother was working in UAE, as she had not been able to make a living in Hambantota. With all of this work, Chammi had lost a lot of weight the last couple of months.
She asked us to stock up her credit. From the 50`000 rupees she had already paid back 38`000. But the problem was a loan of about 100,000 rupees that she had with the Chamber of Commerce. She already had paid them back 30`000 rupees but she had to pay 13% interest.
She wanted to repay them with an interest free credit from our program. She also wanted to buy pre-cut fabric to produce in series, to keep her employees busy during times with little business.
As always, Michel was guarding the money but he agreed to stock up the pool, so that Zariya was able to give Chammi the credit of 70`000 rupees to repay the expensive loan with the Chamber of Commerce. For the additional 18`000 rupees for the precut material, she would have to wait till the end of the year, till there is again enough money in the micro credit pool.
This would bring Chammi’s credit up to 100`000 rupees, about 1,000 Swiss francs and it was by far the biggest credit given to anyone. On the other hand, we were quite confident that the money is in the best hands and put to the best use.
Three of the widows had been already given a second credit as they had paid back the first one. We stocked up the pool some more and were able to hand over six more credits during our stay. Much to my joy, there was also a second one to Sifany, the widow with the four children who generated an income with her rice mill.
The same Sifany had asked Roy to forward a request to us by e-mail four months before. She would be able to give her oldest daughter into marriage, but she was lacking the necessary money. In Sri Lankan society this is not considered begging.
It is a custom that at the time of marriage, funeral or other big events, the poor people turn to wealthy ones for help. If the help is granted it gives the donor credits for his next life. The biggest credit I could earn for myself would be to be reborn as a man!
At this point, I would like to emphasize that a lot of our friends back in Switzerland make it possible with their contributions that we can help. Therefore, the credit also has to be split among them. Who wants to be reborn as a man?
We asked Roy to forward 200 Swiss francs from the credit pool. We would replace the money during our next visit. It was worth every dime!
Because of the wedding, Sifany`s house had been freshly painted with a rather bright green paint and along with a very nice son-in-law, there was a shiny new tuk-tuk in front of the house.
With this tuk-tuk (owned by the son-in-law) it will be possible for them to finally move to the house in Siribopura. So far, Sifany would not have been able to pay for the transportation to the school for her children.
There was a report in the local newspaper about the opening of a school for 1,000 students built in Siribopura, which was supposed to take place in December. We did not see a construction site and there was no other infrastructure as well.
We were not the only ones who leveled out the account (paying back the 200 Swiss francs to the pool). Zariya told us that as soon as the news spread that we were in town, some ladies came running to pay their rates. A proof to the fact that help sometimes only works together with a little control, or to put it in nicer words, that the ladies honored our engagement. Of course, the authority Roy has in Hambantota did serve the purpose even more.