Niluka Kapuge has just started sending her oldest son to Pathawelivitiya school. As with all the parents there, Extra Cover offered her the chance of developing a new business of growing tea, but unfortunately Niluka and her family do not have their own home. Instead they move from house to house, depending on what is available and what they can afford.
After some discussion, she asked if it was possible for us to supply her with a sewing machine, in order that she could then develop a skill and start working for local companies on a ‘piece rate’ agreement. Matthew and Newton drove to a ‘Singer’ store, purchased a magnificent-looking pedal-powered machine and delivered it to a shocked Kapuge family! Niluka was speechless for a while, but when recovered she promised to make the most of her new machine. We have organised for her to be trained, and when her new baby is old enough (born in Feb 2012), we hope she will be able to produce a decent income for the family.
An interesting coincidence happened. When the England cricket management visited Pathawelivitiya, Richard Halsall (fielding coach) met Niluka and Rishini (who had been born just a few weeks before) and found out hat his own first baby was born on the same day as Rishini. An emotional moment occurred and there may well be a bond there for many years as Richard kindly offered to pay for the sewing machine.
Extra Cover will use this as a test case; it may well be that it worthwhile offering this to other families with little or no income where no land is available for growing tea, but we will wait and see how Niluka gets on.