Dilan cements his family's future with a profitable new business

By Daminda Fernando – World Vision Sri Lanka Program Manager

Dilan used to work as a steward in a hotel. The 22-year-old worked hard – more than 12 hours a day – but received a very low salary, just Rs12,000 or $42 a month.

“When I worked at the hotel, my mother had participated in Generate Your Business (GYB) sessions conducted in the village by World Vision. She had developed a development plan for our family and she tried to start a textile business at home through World Vision’s support. Then suddenly my family faced a difficult time when my mother got seriously sick and my father lost his job. Even though we tried our best, we could not totally cure mother. She went blind and all the hopes for our future get faded away. I was in a dilemma, because I had to choose my job or look after my mother, since my only sister is still going to school,” Dilan explains.

Once World Vision realised that Dilan’s mother could not continue with the business activity, they met the family and discussed how the program could still support them. Dilan chose to stay at home to look after his mother and he participated in the Generate Your Business sessions. Instead of continuing with his mother’s textile business, Dilan discovered another path.

“During the GYB training I realised that cement brick making is a potential business after analysing my skills, available resources and the opportunities in my village. I consulted World Vision to get support to start the cement brick business. They helped me develop a business plan, and they asked me to get the necessary technical knowledge. I worked at a brick making place for one month to get technical knowledge. Then World Vision supported me to get a brick making machine. I started the business at my home after participating in Start Your Business (SYB) training.”

Dilan's brick making business is helping him support his family – and he's been able to hire two of his neighbours to work for him as well.

Last year World Vision coordinated 666 family development plans for the Walapane community and 253 households were given Start Your Business (SYB) training to start new businesses.

Dilan joined a savings club in his area and is now an active member. Forty-nine saving clubs were functioning last year with 766 members meeting regularly. Dilan also started a savings account in a government bank using the income from his business. Since then he has been able to borrow a Rs.50, 000 ($1,000) loan from the bank to extend his business.

“Now my monthly income is around Rs.35, 000 - 40,000 and I can look after my mother while doing the business. I gave two employment opportunities to my neighbours and they earn Rs.20, 000-25,000 per month now. Now I’ve started to build my house with the support from my father. Being a businessman, I earned a lot of things other than the money. I am a role model for the village youth, my neighbours respect me. I can help them at their emergencies by giving financial support.”

Dilan has successfully applied what he learnt from the business training sessions. Earlier he was a beneficiary of World Vision, but now he is a supplier to them – providing building material for partner projects like latrine constructions. He is also able to pay for his sister’s education.

Interested in seeing our work in Sri Lanka up close? World Vision in partnership with Huma Charity Challenge are offering supporters the opportunity to experience a 10-day guided cultural tour through Sri Lanka while raising money for life-changing programs. The trip includes a visit to the Walapane community.  Find out more today.