Bank also offers microfinance loans to develop selected businesses
Standard Chartered Sri Lanka announced the completion of a two-year multi-stakeholder community project undertaken jointly with Chrysalis to provide financial literacy training and micro finance loans to women and youth residents in the country’s tea estates. The project saw the completion of a long-term financial literacy training of 129 women and youth, and loans provided to 33 business ventures of estate residents.
Conceptualised as a project to build capabilities and enhance financial management skills, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka worked closely with Chrysalis on identifying the beneficiaries from Hatton and the Uva region. Tea plantation women and youth were given training in financial skills and business management, in addition to allowing access to microfinance loans so that they could embark on business ventures for additional income and gain greater control over their household income and decision making.
Standard Chartered also engaged Hatton National Bank (HNB) as its local banking partner to accommodate loans for qualified recipients by evaluating all individual entrepreneurs. As a partner, HNB performed necessary field visits and disbursed and followed up on loan recoveries in 9 estates in Hatton and the Uva region.
Speaking on the completion of the initiative, Bingumal Thewarathanthri, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka said, “The financial education and entrepreneurship project we embarked on with Chrysalis was aimed at increasing the financial knowledge of the women and youth of the overlooked estate sector, enabling them to create business ventures, providing them with additional income and greater autonomy. As a business, Standard Chartered seeks to ensure that the financing provided by us goes towards supporting the economy and creating social development, and it is a matter of pride that our investment in communities go above and beyond the financial factor.”
Chrysalis is a Sri Lankan organisation working to empower women and youth by fostering inclusive growth. Working in tea estates through Community Development Forums, Chrysalis identified recipient communities, spread awareness of the project, mobilised target audiences and maintained relationships with the grassroots communities.
“Women and youth in the estate sector are a valuable yet an extremely vulnerable part of our society, in whose case financial illiteracy and lack of income opportunities serve as severe limiting factors. Our work, in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank, has indirectly benefited close to 15,000 people as a result of women and youth increasing their financial literacy and actively engaging in community development.
This is in addition to those who started up businesses that now employ others and foster entrepreneurship within the community,” stated Ashika Gunasena, Chief Executive Officer at Chrysalis, commenting on the project and its far-reaching impact.