Dr. A.T Ariyaratne – Founder, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka, Neetha Ariyaratne , Channa de Silva – Chairman, Sarvodaya Development Finance lighting the oil lamp at the ‘Village Biz Festival’ inaugural ceremony.
In keeping with its strong legacy of supporting grassroots entrepreneurs, Sarvodaya Development Finance stepped forward to conceptualize and support the highly-successful ‘Village Biz Festival’ in partnership with Hatton National Bank. Held at Greenpath, Colombo, on 20th July 2019, the event was organized by COEXIST Foundation and aimed at uplifting the lives of social entrepreneurs who produce and sell, recycle, upcycle sustainable and innovative products and to facilitate and connect customers and to promote holistic living that embraces the concept of wellness. 150 social entrepreneurs from rural areas all over the country showcased their products at this well-attended event. The Festival proved to be a fun event for the entire family with music, art, wellness and other fun activities. The event is an attempt to create a movement of inspiration for system change and positive impact in South East Asia and beyond.
Commenting further, Chairman of Sarvodaya Development Finance Channa de Silva said, “We are pleased to facilitate the Village Biz Festival, which aims to bridge the urban-rural divide, while giving 150 social entrepreneurs access to urban markets. What is even more creditable is that these social entrepreneurs are doing great work in the area of upcycling, recycling and devising sustainable products to preserve the country’s eco-system, an effort that needs urgent and overwhelming support while uplifting livelihoods. We would like to thank Hatton National Bank for joining hands with us in this socially relevant endeavour. Sarvodaya Development Finance has a proven track record of empowering SMEs and micro enterprises at the grassroots for which it was established years ago and to which it remains deeply committed.”
The Sarvodaya Development Finance evolved from deep rooted commitment to nation building and development along the ‘grass roots upwards’ model of its parent, the Sarvodaya Movement. Guided by the social philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and the spiritual teachings of Buddhism, Sarvodaya, founded by Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, is currently the oldest non-governmental organisation in Sri Lanka.
SDF was born out of a natural process of evolution in which Sarvodaya realised the need for an ‘economic arm’ that could support its aims of reducing poverty by empowering rural folk and creating sustainable livelihoods for all. This realisation led to the formation of SDF’s predecessor, (SEEDS) (Gte) Limited, where the growing economic emancipation of the rural population required a dedicated institution that could take such emancipation forward via the providing of capital, training, information, advice and product marketing support.