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Rythm Foundation empowers women entrepreneurs in partnership with Sarvodaya

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Over 400 young women from vulnerable communities in Jaffna and Kilinochchi are being empowered with entrepreneurial skills to enable them to overcome poverty and build sustainable livelihoods under a unique initiative undertaken by Sarvodaya and RYTHM Foundation.

RYTHM Foundation, the social impact arm of the QI Group, focuses its efforts in the areas of education for all, gender equality and sustainable community development, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Headquartered in Hong Kong, the foundation operates in several countries to make a difference around the world, which includes a strong presence in Sri Lanka.

Since 2018, the foundation has collaborated with various local organisations around the country to facilitate sustainable development in underserved communities. This includes creating employment opportunities through a social enterprise project in the northern province, as well as promoting the social inclusion of persons with special needs in the Kandy district.

Sri Lanka holds a special place in the heart of the foundation as the birthplace of its chairperson, Umayal Eswaran. Having grown up in Colombo with altruistic parents who had an open-door policy of extending help to anyone who required it, Umayal has always had an innate sense of philanthropy that fuels her passion to uplift others. Thus, the principle the foundation was built upon – Raise Yourself To Help Mankind – and its ongoing quest to lend support to the most vulnerable segments of communities around the world.

“I believe it should be a second nature for humanity to reach out and help those who are in need, weak or vulnerable. When we have the capacity and resources to uplift struggling communities, we must do everything in our power to do so. It is our duty as citizens of the world. I am particularly grateful to be able to give back to the nation that raised and nourished me in my youth with the work that we have been doing through RYTHM Foundation,” said Umayal.

The current project with one of RYTHM’s earliest on-the-ground partners, Sarvodaya, kicked off in 2019 and despite COVID-19 related snags, hopes to continue until its completion this year. Courses in tailoring, beauty culture, mobile repairing, motor mechanics, craft, baking, cake decorating, food processing and many more are offered to young women from economically challenged circumstances to build their life skills under the programme.

It also addresses a lack of access to markets, technology and financial resources and provides training in leadership, entrepreneurship and small business management skills including workshops on engaging with microfinance institutions and banks.

Young women who have consistently faced challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and lack of skills in communities that are mostly made up of female-headed households, are often exposed to gender-based violence and often have to give up their higher education aspirations. Yet, the project has given them confidence and the ability to rise above their circumstances.

Courageous and talented participants such as Siyanuka from Thellipala who learnt business skills in manufacturing leather goods under the initiative, are thriving with their self-employment ventures.

“My family was not very supportive at the start but with the aid from Sarvodaya & RYTHM, I was able to start my leather products business and build a network of clients with my father’s support too” she says.

K. Sayanthini from Visuvamadu East is yet another young woman who was trained as a beautician under the programme. Today, she has built a successful beauty business and provides her services to her community.

These women and many others have had their livelihood potential enhanced while entire communities have benefitted from the project. RYTHM Foundation & Sarvodaya are pleased to have empowered these women economically to transform their lives through this partnership. The foundation hopes to continue working with vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka through collaboration with other grass root level partners such as Sarvodaya.



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Teejay achieves milestone US$ 250 million in sales in 2021-22

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Teejay Lanka PLC has reported a revenue milestone of Rs 50 billion at Group level for FY 2021-22, achieving its first annual sales of a quarter of a billion in US Dollar terms at the rates of exchange that prevailed during the year.A strong fourth quarter during which revenue grew 38% to Rs 13.5 billion, the highest quarter revenue since the Company’s inception, enabled Sri Lanka’s largest textile manufacturer to achieve 12-month sales growth of Rs 17.8 billion or 56% to end what was a challenging year for businesses in general, on a high note.

The Group posted profit before tax of Rs 2.887 billion and net profit of Rs 2.517 billion for the year ending 31st March 2022, recording healthy growth of 11% and 18% respectively. Net profit for the fourth quarter was Rs 826.2 million, reflecting an improvement of 9%.At company level, Teejay Lanka increased revenue by 40% to Rs 29.4 billion for the year, and reported pre-tax profit of Rs 2.6 billion and net profit of Rs 2.4 billion, achieving growth of 23% and 24% respectively.

Elaborating on the Group’s performance, Teejay Lanka Chairman Mr Ajit Gunewardene said the revenue increase was the result of increased demand from the region. The enhanced volumes were delivered with the increased capacity within the Group and the support of outsourced partners, he said.Gunewardene said, however, that margins had been impacted during the year because of the upsurges in the prices of cotton, oil, freight, dyes, chemicals, and auxiliaries. “The increase in the costs of inputs has been the biggest challenge during the year,” he said, disclosing that enhancing efficiency within the Group and increasing prices to customers were the key strategies to counter the challenge.

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Nippon Paint Lanka accredited by Great Place to Work®

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Nemantha Abeysinghe, General Manager – Nippon Paints Lanka (Pvt) Ltd receiving the accreditation from Ms. Hasini Abeywardena, Project Manager – Great Place to Work Sri Lanka

Nippon Paint Lanka (Pvt) Limited has been certified as one of the best workplaces in the country. The Japanese coatings company in Sri Lanka has received this recognition in the manufacturing and production industry category by the globally famed Great Place to Work®.

“We embarked on this to understand employee perceptions of the company. We are proud to have received this honor in our journey towards building and sustaining a high-work ethic, and performance culture,” said General Manager of Nippon Paint Lanka, Nemantha Abeysinghe. “Being recognized as a ‘Great Place to Work-Certified’ organization is an honor and a tribute to the hard work, pride, and dedication put in by every member of Nippon Paint Lanka. We went the extra mile during the COVID period to extend to our employees, special working hours, perks and annual bonuses despite a countrywide lockdown. As a result, the company saw everyone dedicating their efforts more than two hundred percent to uplifting the business.”

“Being certified as a Great workplace indicates that we have differentiated ourselves by creating a great place to work for employees and established Nippon Paint Lanka as an employer of choice. It has passed the rigorous measurement through analysis of results of the Great Place to Work® Trust Index© survey,” Abeysinghe added. Great Place to Work® research is backed by data compiled by assessing over 100 million employees around the globe. Every year, they conduct the world’s largest study of workplace culture and hold the gold standard benchmarks for each country, industry, location and more. Companies that want to be on a Best Workplace list start by getting Great Place to Work-Certified™. Through the Certification process, they capture employee feedback and details about the programs and practices that make a workplace unique.

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Clarification on default status helps boost share market

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Business confidence will likely build up in the wake of Central Bank Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe telling the media yesterday that Sri Lanka was not facing a hard default but a pre-emptive default, which entailed informing about the payment of funds beforehand until the IMF debt restructure plan comes into play.Further, JP Morgan, a leading investment bank in the United States is on record that with the recent political changes, the current political crisis in Sri Lanka will stand defused and the value of bonds will rise. This would also create some impetus for the stock market, analysts said.

They point out that political stability will lead to a rise in the value of bonds above current lows. The Bank predicts that this will facilitate discussions with the International Monetary Fund as well as the process of appointing legal and financial advisors.

“We think this stability should result in both IMF discussions and the process of appointing legal and financial advisors moving forward,” Reuters said quoting JPMorgan analysts.

“Political stability should pave the way for bonds to move higher from near all-time lows,” JPMorgan analysts added.

Amid those developments stock market trading activities started on a positive note and later moved downwards. The All- Share Price Index went down by 243 points down and S and P SL20 declined by 94.9 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.5 billion minus a crossing.In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Holdings Rs 777 million (3.7 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 204 million (24.8 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 130 million (13.9 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 70.7 million (127,000 shares traded), Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 56.8 million (914,000 shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs 33 million (one million shares traded) and Lanka IOC Rs 30.3 million (752,000 shares traded). During the day 69 million share volumes changed hands in 17000 transactions.

It is said that following four sessions of sharp gains recorded in the CSE soon after the appointing of Ranil Wickramasinghe Prime Minister, indices edged down due to profit-taking in heavyweight stocks across sectors due to faulty speculation on the market. However, activity picked up to stronger levels with turnover surpassing Rs. 3 billion for the first time in nine weeks, largely boosting blue- chips, market analysts said.Yesterday, the Central Bank announced the US dollar buying rate as Rs 354.56 and the selling rate as Rs 364.53. The rupee rate has appreciated as against the dollar as certain policy measures have been adopted to bridge the gap between the Central Bank rate and the kerb market rate.

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