We are the Makura Nawarathne Foundation (MNF), a non-government organization founded in 2011 in Kegalle in west-central Sri Lanka. We support vulnerable people—especially people with physical or mental difficulties—through agriculture-related activities and help to improve their financial situation and quality of life.
We were especially keen to do something for the disabled people in Kegalle, our base in Sri Lanka. Many people there refuse to treat them as part of society; they feel understandably lonely and neglected as a result.
In September 2013, we began to support the disabled of Kegalle through a program of banana-fiber-based handicraft-making activities. These activities enable them to get out of the house and do the same sort of work that normally abled people do.
We launched our project at Rotuwa Mental Disabled Center and Ambanpitiya Disabled Center. About 25 girls/women joined the project. The first step was to make thread by hand. It took a long time to get to a professional level, however, with a lot of hard work, they eventually did it!
We received fantastic support from Dorothy, a French strategic product designer who helped improved product quality and design. We also developed our own brand name “MUSACO”. (The name coｍbines “Musa,” the scientific name for banana with “CO” which evokes the Sri Lankan word for “trunk” or “stalk,” which is where the fiber actually comes from.)
The beneficiaries are now making beautiful bowls, coasters, and even bags with Macrame inlay from banana fiber. They are very proud of MUSACO products!
What kind of results have we achieved?
Since starting the project, we have observed remarkable changes in the beneficiaries’ mental condition and behavior. When we started the project, they were not very active or engaged; now, however, they laugh and joke with one other, and happily participate in other tasks such as cleaning, preparing food, and so on. Not only are they enjoying life more, they are also earning an income money from the products they make. This boosts both their self-esteem and their status in the community.
People from the local community have also joined in to support us. Their cooperation has resulted in improved production quantity and quality. They also play a missionary role, helping to communicate the abilities of disabled people to the wider community.
We are happy and proud that our activities have made such huge and positive changes in our beneficiaries’ lives.
We want your help to continue and expand this program.
As Sri Lanka is a developing country, there are more disabled people than the official data says. We would like to develop our activities into a broader program targeting more disabled people and giving them the chance to be part of society and to live their lives with greater dignity.
You now have a valuable opportunity to support this charity work. (And by the way, our products are also eco-friendly and help to save the world’s environment!)
Your kind support will be used for the following purposes:
Trainers’ allowances / Banana fiber material / Other materials / Staff salaries & transportation / Marketing expenses (exhibitions, etc.)
Please fund us. Your support will change lives!