Sri Lanka: Rebuilding lives

Would you like to give poor women farmers in Sri Lanka a better future?

Rasmatar harvests her crop of rice in Vavuniya district.

Help women farmers in Sri Lanka

It doesn't cost a lot to get a poor family farming again and give women the chance to earn a decent living. And it can all be achieved with some agricultural training, irrigation, a bit of business know-how and a small amount of financial backing.

Your donation can do something brilliant

You'll be funding innovative market-led farming schemes that are helping people like Raveendren Vimaladevi start over. She and her family fled the fighting in Mannar district years before, only returning to their village in 2010.

"It was very difficult coming back, but we were so lucky that our irrigation system was repaired by Oxfam. And I received training to develop our business, cultivating rice and vegetables, including chilli. We are now milling rice and chilli and are able to employ other farmers."

Not only will your support increase the earning potential of women like Raveendren, but it will also help to improve the status of women across a number of war-affected communities in the Vavuniya and Mannar districts.

What your money can buy

£100 is enough to train 20 people on safe water and hygiene practices.

£60 is enough to train one woman in business skills to plan, establish and manage her own business.

£53 is enough to train a woman to process products and increase their value, such as curd or toffee.

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Sukitha Kumarapar works for Oxfam's dairy co-op. After milking her cows in the morning, she takes the milk to the co-op where she produces ghee, ice cream and toffee

Photo: Oxfam

A bit of background

After 30 years' of fighting between Tamil Tigers and the government in the north-east of the country, many farming families are returning to their villages to find their homes, fields and irrigation systems devastated. Because of the war, women are the head of household in a quarter of all families, but are struggling to re-establish their farms.

Women are usually unable to borrow the money to buy seeds, restore water supplies, or replace equipment to begin earning a decent living. They also find it hard to sell any surplus that they do grow.

How we're helping

Your support will help farmers - particularly women - to once again make a living from their land, and at the same time, improve the status of women. On the ground, we'll be helping to repair neglected wells and irrigation systems so farmers can water their crops all year round. Farmers will also get training in new techniques, and help to establish relationships with banks and agricultural suppliers so they can buy equipment and higher-yielding seeds at a better price. Dairy farmers will receive additional training in hygiene and in milk production and processing.

And by encouraging co-operative working and developing farmers' business skills, thousands of women will be able to establish profitable enterprises, which will help to change people's traditional attitudes.

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Look how far your money can go

However much you can afford, your donation will really change lives. Just ask the people you've already helped.

Fighting forced Krishantha Anjana, and her family to flee their home in Velakkuyaithakulam village in Vavuniya district in 1998. They returned in 2010, to find buildings destroyed, infrastructure ruined and farms completely overgrown.

 Oxfam helped those who returned to clear their land, and restore water supplies. They helped us develop a local co-operative and gave farmers extensive training.

As a result of her success, Krishantha received the Emerging Women Entrepreneur award in 2012. Quite a turnaround in just a couple of years.

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