Although Sri Lanka can record a significant economic growth since the end of the conflict in 2009, this growth is not evenly distributed over the country. Nearly 90% of the poor live in rural areas. Many of them rely on agriculture and find it challenging to gain a sustainable income. In addition, there is still significant youth and women´s unemployment. 7.4 percent of the female population is unemployed while the rate is only 2.9 percent for male. With 21.8 percent the youth unemployment rate is the highest among all age groups.
In Rajanganaya, a small farming village in the district of Anuradhapura, the Rajarata Janasahana Foundation supports the rural poor. The village consists of 224 farming families each with about one or two children. The older children and especially the Girls
often stay at home after leaving school with few professional prospects. In 2017 the German Embassy has supported the Rajarata Janasahana Foundation´s “Project of production and selling White Coconut Oil from the clean, dry copra without fake by using simple technical ovens to obtain sustainable income generation for low income farming women who lived in Rajanganaya in Anuradhapura” via its Micro Project Scheme. The project aims at utilizing the coconuts growing in the area for the production of white coconut oil. The grant provided by the German Embassy was used to distribute five ovens and an oil pressing machine among the villagers, creating a new source of income, which especially benefits the women of that community.
In November 2018 Ambassador Rohde visited Rajanganaya and convinced himself of the project's success. During that visit, the Ambassador was also able to get a first impression of the soon to be opened farm in another part of the district, also established via the German Embassy´s Micro Project Scheme and under the support of the Rajarata Janasahana Foundation. “The Project of Milk and Milk Product Project for Empowering Sustainability Among the Low Income Non-Opportunity Women who lived in Janajaya Village and No: 5, Village in Thambuthtegama Divisional Secretariat in Anuradhapura District” aims at providing the villagers with a sustainable source of income as well. The grant was used for the purchase of cows, which will be kept on the farmland. Their milk shall be sold at school canteens and used for the production of milk based products like yogurt and milk toffee. At the humorous request of Ambassador Rohde, one of the cows should be named after his daughter, but in the end, the whole farm was named after Ambassador’s daughter “Sara”.
The German Embassy wishes the Rajarata Janasahana Foundation all the best for the completion of the Project.