11 Mar, 2021
Members of the “Ranliya” Women’s Society of Batewela in Ranala have been involved in producing paper products since 2018. Although a paper cutting machine had been procured with the support of the Divisional Secretariat in 2018, it has been an uphill battle for the women to engage in production and access markets following the challenges posed by both the Easter Sunday attacks and outbreak of COVID-19.
Whilst the women persevered in producing basic products such as envelopes, their limited training and exposure in using the machine did not permit them to optimize production or market opportunities.
In 2020, when John Keells Foundation and Ceylon Cold Stores (Elephant House) initiated John Keells Praja Shakthi in Ranala, the need for developing capacity and market access for the women was identified in discussion with Government officials and the society, and a 2-month training on producing paper products was launched.
From being limited to producing envelopes, the women are now equipped with knowledge on using the paper cutting machine effectively to produce a variety of paper products including paper bags, paper lanterns, lunch boxes, etc. The women’s society has already received several orders from various parties.
A certification distribution ceremony for 16 women who participated in the 2-month training programme took place on 9th March 2021 in commemoration of International Women’s Day. On this occasion, John Keells Foundation also handed over seed capital to the women’s society to support them procure raw materials for their planned activities.
Mr. Chathura Mihidum – Divisional Secretary, Kaduwela, Mr.Gunesekara – Grama Niladhari, Batewela, Mr. Sanjeewa Jayasundara – Head of Supply Chain Management (CCS), Ms. Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of Operations – John Keells Foundation, Ms. Amandya Uthpalie, Project Coordinator and staff from CCS were present at the certificate distribution ceremony.
John Keells Foundation and Elephant House will continue to support the women under this project to increase their capacity and market access towards becoming an independent and self-sustained entrepreneur operation in keeping with John Keells’ CSR Vision `Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow’.