A Blooming Flower in the Rural Land

Saraswathi

Manthai-East is located in the west direction of the Mullaitivu district. The Livestock Breeders Cooperatives Society well known as LIBCO of Manthai-East is situated in a rural area of the district. Before its sole establishment in the year 2016, this LIBCO was operated in unison with the Thunukkai LIBCO.
The war not only destroyed the building of the LIBCO but killed a number of Livestock owned by the Cooperative and its members. The death of innumerable livestock was a great threat to the livelihood of these residents as they were known to be experienced dairy farmers.

The Diakonia project in the Mullaitivu district named ‘Collective Engagement for Equitable and Sustainable Growth of Vulnerable Communities’, helped revive the diminishing LIBCO of Manthai-East through its capacity building and institutional support. Through the programmes of the Diakonia project an effective progress in membership of the LIBCO from 152 to 562 was evidenced. In the year 2017, SLCDF provided 400,000/- to the Manthai-East LIBCO on an experimental basis. Out of these funds a sum of 50,000/- was distributed as revolving loan fund (RLF) amongst 8 farmers with the aim of supporting the vulnerable dairy farmers to restore their livelihoods and increase the livestock. The repayment of installments was re-used as RLF amongst another 3 farmers. This process gradually led to an increase of membership in the Manthai-East LIBCO.

The impact of the RLF provided by the Manthai-East LIBCO is reflected through the live story of Saraswathi, the breadwinner of a Women Headed Household. In the year 2000 she was widowed with the sole responsibility of 8 children. Saraswathi lost a daughter to the war in 2009, 2 daughters are married and the rest of the 5 children are continuing with their education. Before the civil war this family was known to be expert dairy- entrepreneurs in Manthai-East. Saraswathi had to feed her family and as a single mother and breadwinner she was looking for means of enhancing their economic stability.
She purchased two local breed cattle from the livelihood package provided by the government. But she was only able to milk 2 liters of milk per day and it did not bring in a steady flow of money, as a result she was employed as a labourer at various places. With the funding from the Diakonia project Saraswathi applied for RLF from the Manthai-East LIBCO and received a loan for a sum of 50,000/-. She sold one of the local breed cattle and bought an improved breed animal. The 8 liters of milk obtained from this livestock enabled her to look after her children as a stay-at home parent and increased their financial stability gradually. The money received from Diakonia has helped in improving the vulnerable family of Saraswathi.

Meanwhile, the Manthai-East LIBCO has employed 6 private artificial insemination technicians (PAITs) for the Artificial Insemination program funded by the Palmera Project Programme in collaboration with the Australian Government. This programme ensures to increase the number of improved breed livestock and enhance the knowledge on dairy management practices among the farmers in the Manthai-East.

The once inactive Manthai-East LIBCO is now thriving and has become a prominent cooperative in the Mullaitivu district. It provides an active service such as low cost cattle feed and medicines in order to improve the quality of livestock. As a result of their booming services the Palmera Projects organization has approved Rs.1,000,000 for their revolving fund. Manthai-East LIBCO has not only strived in establishing its pillars in its area but has been an instrument through which the livelihood of many individuals has been improved.