In central Sri Lanka, tucked away from the city, amidst
rolling tea estates and misty mountains, a small shack gives shelter to an
energetic, hardworking family. Five-year old Asanka runs about, fast as
lightening, from their one room home to the open shed where two cows and a calf
The house is small and it is hard to imagine that there
would be much space to run about when all five family members are home. Despite
the hardships, the walls are painted a bright pink, as if in defiance to its
“We have worked hard all our lives,” 35-year old Indrani
says smiling, busy with the cow feed. “When World Vision Lanka came to our
village and began to help families, we were also identified as a potential
family. They trained me to rear cattle. My two youngest are sponsored children
Indrani was given training under the PROFEED project. For
about a year Indrani received comprehensive training in cattle farming, from
how to make the feed and care for a herd, to how to make a shed. World Vision
also gave her a cow to help her start off.
Indrani also applied for a loan from VisionFund Lanka and
in March 2016, she was able to buy another young cow and put up a shed with her
first loan of about USD 340. Soon after, to Indrani’s delight, she learnt that
her first cow Kalu was pregnant.
“Kalu is like family to us,” she says rubbing the animal’s
head affectionately. “I birthed her baby myself,” Indrani says smiling at the
new calf frolicking around happily, playing with Indrani’s youngest son Asanka.
Asanka has two elder brothers and a sister. The eldest is
Asanka’s hero, 20 year old Upul. “He is working in Colombo,” Asanka says with
dreamy eyes. Colombo is Sri Lanka’s capital city. “He’s working in a garment
factory. When I grow up I’m going to earn lots of money in Colombo,” Asanka
says eyes shining with hope.
17 year old Nuwan was away at an extra tuition class, in
preparation for his upcoming exams. Asanka’s sister, 16 year old Nimeshika
smiled brightly from behind her mother Indrani at her younger brother’s antics.
Indrani works as many jobs as she could with her husband, 46 year old Appuhami.
They work in the some plantations nearby, as hired help, and when the work was
available. Appuhami also tends to a small plot of land around their house.
Every conceivable space around the house has been planted with vegetables and
other greens that Appuhami takes to the local market to sell. This is their
primary source of income. Asanka and Nimeshika proudly point to the ground
against the back wall of the house. The small vertical strip of land, half the
size of an office cubicle, has been planted by the kids. “I sell my vegetables,
when I need to buy new things for school,” Nimeshika says.
The income that they receive from milking the cows is now
sufficient to cover the costs of medicine and take care of the children.
Indrani is looking forward to the increase in production when the new calf is
also ready to give milk. She has high hopes for the cattle shed too. She hopes
to save enough to make a more secure structure to house the cows. “I want to
increase production from the 10 Liters we get today. I want to increase the
herd to around 6 cows. Then we can save up and build a house here as well,” she
“Cattle farming has a future. We have struggled all our
lives, but now I feel there is a way I can earn enough for my children to see a
better life,” says Indrani looking fondly at her spirited family.
To learn more about World Vision’s microfinance work in
Sri Lanka through VisionFund, please visit: http://www.visionfund.org/2103/sri-lanka/asia-pacific/where/
Samurdhi Perera, Communications Officer, VisionFund Lanka.