India provides 203 million rupees in grants to uplift lives of war widows in Eastern Sri Lanka

June 02, Colombo: India has agreed to provide 203 million rupees in grants assistance to establish a Trade Facilitation Centre and a Community Learning Centre in Batticaloa to uplift the lives of war widows in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province.

Sri Lanka Ministry of External Affairs signed the agreement on May 31, 2011 with the Government of India and Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ahmedabad to provide technical assistance and implementation support for establishment of the two centers.

A press release issued by the High Commission of India said the agreement is a follow up of an earlier Memorandum of Understanding the two governments entered into.

The Government of Sri Lanka will provide the premises and other local support for setting up the Centre.

SEWA will be the executing agency on behalf of the Government of India and Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs of Sri Lanka will act as the nodal agency on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka.

The programme aims to train forty (40) war affected/destitute women trainees from Batticaloa District as Master Trainers under Training of Trainers (ToT) programme in India.

The women will be trained in seven vocational subjects: Textiles and Garments; Surface Ornamentation; Agro food processing; Computers; Enterprise Development; Solar lantern and Roof rain water harvesting. In addition, fifty (50) women at the grassroots will undergo management training in India.

The trainers who would be trained at SEWA under the ToT programme will work as master trainers and will train 800 trainees under coordination, guidance and facilitation support from resource persons of SEWA, the press release said.

All the trainees will also be imparted enterprise development training. The duration of the project in Sri Lanka would be for two years.

The High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha, has said the project is very important as it would rebuild the lives of war affected women and their families.

He added that the objective of the project is economic empowerment of women by imparting employable livelihood skills, capacity building among war affected women in vocational trades and assistance in creating sustainable livelihood activities. All these would contribute to the overall improvement of socio-economic indicators in the Eastern Province.

Depending on the progress of the project, it is proposed to explore the possibility of scaling up the model for application in other areas of the country, the release further said.

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