Raphael Ayitey, the marketing coordinator at the VisionFund office in Ghana was the overall winner of an internal competition for communicators. His award was the opportunity to visit a microfinance organisation in one of the 28 countries where VisionFund operates. He chose to visit Sri Lanka and shares his experience of VisionFund’s work there.
Visiting Sri Lanka was like a dream come true because I had always wanted to travel to interesting parts of the world. The fact that the stories of change in Ghana that I had submitted during the competition were appreciated and provided this opportunity was welcomed and this encouraged me to work even harder.
My flight from Kotoka International Airport in Accra through Dubai to Colombo was wonderful. I landed safely at the Colombo Airport by the grace of God and I was picked up by a friendly driver who drove me safely to the hotel where I was to stay during the visit. I enjoyed my time at the hotel and sampled some local Sri Lankan meals.
Visiting communities where we work
I had a wonderful field trip arranged by the local head office staff. I visited the Katuneriya and Hatton branches where I met equally supportive staff who took me to meet some clients.
I heard many stories but the most interesting of all for me was a client who quit his job in the city (Colombo) and went back to his village to start his own multiple businesses.
Another encouraging story was about a female client who started her own bicycle repair business and later expanded it to serve her entire community – the story is significant as she was from a society where it was not common for women to do any form of commercial work, but she had defied the norms and started a successful bicycle repair and retail business.
VisionFund client Sahara’s bicycle repair shop
I enjoyed was the lush green of tea plantations, landscapes and mountain views, especially on our way to Hatton in central Sri Lanka, this was so different to my views in Ghana.
Tea plantations in central Sri Lanka
Serving microfinance borrowers
It was interesting to see how clients in Ghana have similar traits to those in Sri Lanka in the sense that, they are all hard working entrepreneurs working to achieve similar objectives – to provide better life for their families and most importantly for their children. VisionFund’s microfinance work plays an important role in helping clients transform their lives for the better.
This visit to Sri Lanka has really motivated me to work hard and realise how important every little aspect of our work is. I have learnt a lot from the clients I visited and was challenged to take my work more seriously and become a master at it. I was also motivated and inspired by the interesting clients I met and their stories – especially their ability to turn their situations around with just a small loan and advise from VisionFund.
Left: With the Katuneriya Branch Manager, Nevomal Fernando
Right: At the VisionFund Lanka Head office with communications colleagues Sean and Megali