Diakonia - People change the world
Nandani and her cousein Nandani (on the left), together with her cousin.

Own livelihood gives meaning to Nandani’s life

“I now know that I can do something with my life.” Nandani is a member of a marginalised ethnic group in Sri Lanka, she is a woman and a single parent. All these factors in themselves were challenging, but the combination was way too much. Two years ago, when Nandani was pregnant with the family’s second child, her husband left her and refused to acknowledge the child.

Nandani had no means of providing for her family.

“After my husband left us, I felt helpless and unsure of what to do. I saw no future for us.”'

Defining steps to achieve her goals

But Nandani came into contact with a local women’s group supported by Diakonia’s partner organization Women’s Development Center, and she was offered training in how she could develop traditional pottery into a livelihood. She was given help in drawing up a five-year plan for her business and support in defining which steps she needed to take to achieve her goals.

Nandani is now on the second year of her plan and has made key improvements to her home. She has also bought a small motorcycle that gives her the opportunity to get around her village. The most important thing, perhaps, is that she was able to buy an electric potter’s wheel that makes her work infinitely more efficient, allowing her to produce 100 pots a day.

The women's group negotiated prices

A challenge for Nandani and other potters in the area was the low prices – despite working hard, they earned less than the minimum wage in Sri Lanka. Thanks to the women’s group, the women were able to jointly negotiate with the buyers and managed to increase the prices from 20 rupees (around SEK 1.30) to 30 rupees (around SEK 1.90) per pot.

Each small change is a step forward in Nandani’s five-year plan, with the ultimate goal that her income will exceed the minimum wage by a good margin and that her son will be able to receive a scholarship so he can continue his education.

“My plan also helps achieve the village’s plan, so I have a context now. I’ve found a purpose. My focus now has helped me realise my dream of educating my children and being a good provider for my family. I make sure my family have what they need."