From Adversity to a Hopeful Future

Thirty two year old Ms. A.D. Mallika married to Mr. Y.D. Wasantha, hails from Unawatuna, Buttala, in the Moneragala District. They were blessed with four daughters, aged 9 years, 5 years, 3 years and 8 months. The family has gone through hard times in the recent past. She had to even pawn the family jewellery to get through the days looking after the children, while also attending to the serious illnesses of her mother in law and one of her children. They could not save them in spite of extremely heavy expenditure. In these circumstances, being a long standing member of the local NGO Wellassa Kantha Sahayogitha Padanama, helped her to join the Integrated Agriculture programme funded by Hope International Development Agency (HIDA) of Canada. As part of this programme she was fortunate to receive a cow through a grant of Rs.37,500, to cover her expenses in purchasing a Jersey cow putting up a sturdy cattle shed, and insurance for the cow. She in turn will be gifting the first born female calf to a pre-identified trained participant from the neighbourhood.

The family was rearing a cow even prior to getting the gift of a cow under this programme. The newly acquired cow has calved in August 2014 and now the family gets a milk yield of around 10 litres from their two cows. They sell the milk to Pelwatte Farms, a large collector and processor of milk in the area, getting a guaranteed price of Rs.50 per litre. Their monthly income has thereby shot up by around Rs.15,000.

This additional income is being spent on the children’s education and any balance is saved in Savings Accounts maintained in the Bank of Ceylon in the name of the children. The usual basic daily expenses of the family are defrayed with the Rs.12,000 earned monthly by her husband by working as a casual labour hand at the Pelwatte Sugar factory located in the vicinity.

They work collectively to look after their cows and the new baby, who is treated as a pet by the children. Now there is greater unity within the family, going through better times. Around a litre of fresh milk is consumed daily within this happy family, improving their nutrition as well.

Mallika has benefited immensely from training programmes conducted by SLCDF, and supported by the NGO providing theoretical knowledge and practical skills in dairy farming.

Mallika is currently busy in completing construction of a house for which they have already laid the foundation. The family hopes to provide a solid education to their children as well, now that they are seeing much better times.