Kegalle by Design - CBO Workshop in Bamboo

Assist an innovative school-based Community Based Organization provide an income for parents of schoolchildren in need

While hard statistics are hard to come by the district of Kegalle incomes are tiny.  Large local employers are few, farm incomes are variable, and now severely impacted by climate change-induced drought and changes in weather patterns.  Most families get by on around $A1.60 a day, and this leaves little for providing children the basics of school education like shoes, uniforms, paper, pencils, and even a lunch to take to school. 

Aspirations Educations has sought to improve the economic situation of the parents of the school children through encouraging Bamboo weaving as a livelihood activity. Bamboo was chosen for the project because of its low cost and availability, the relative ease of learning weaving skills, and it being an environmentally suitable and sustainable substitute for timber. 

Initially, a Community Based Organizations has been set up with the blessings and involvement of Kegalle school management. The idea is the CBO will then operate independently, based in the community outside the school. The CBO will identify local community members, train them in best practice techniques, and ensure income benefits families experiencing financial hardship. The CBO also undertakes monitoring and project supervision.

The Aspirations Foundation provides an interest free loan for purchasing tools, furniture and associated production infrastructure. They introduced skilled trainers and consultants.  They also assist by creating awareness on positive thinking and developing linkages to market.
These markets include, ‘Laksala’ and other government and private handicraft shops, tourist shops, and now international markets – retailers, schools and international universities. 

A Bamboo workshop training center Kobbawela Keerthiratna Maha Vidyalaya has been set up with the assistance of the Kegalle school’s administration. Two months’ training has been provided to thirty women on producing household items from bamboo, using the services of two female trainers from the Sri Lankan Government’s Handicraft unit for this purpose. 

Aspirations also have recruited a consultant in this trade to coordinate the project at all levels. Trainees have already commenced their commercial production and hoping to put them into the market in the months of May/June.  A Community Center to be used as a Community Production Center is being constructed at the school premises, coordinated by the CBO. 

Get involved! 

The project requires:

Marketing and logistic students to develop and deploy a business plan, an international market and supply chain working in partnership with local consultants, Deakin University's Faculty of Business and Law and Australian and international retailers. 

If you’re a marketing, business or MBS supply chain management student or academic from Deakin University or from one of our Sri Lankan partners institutions, we’d love you to get involved. You may be invited to participate to the multinational Project team travelling to Ampara, Sri Lanka in January 2015.

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