Changing Fortunes

September 09 (LBO) – Thanuja was orphaned at a very young age. She started to study the art of making coir products at the village Kohu Samithiya, or coir association from the time she was 17 years old.

Realizing that she had a knack for it, she decided to strike out on her own.

Unbankable

Then the problems started.

When I went to banks, they didn’t like the idea because I didn’t have parents and I didn’t have a permanent residence, Thanuja told ETV’s Money Report programme.

“I went to every bank from here to the next town with my aunt. But no one wanted to help.

At this point she heard of a project by the Hambanthota Chamber of Commerce which helped young, disadvantaged people who had viable business ideas. Hambantota is in the deep south of Sri Lanka.

The Hambantota Youth Business Trust (HYBT) project initiated by the chamber, had been helping youth who had no recourse to the banking system for nearly ten years.

HYBT is the locally accredited arm of the international Youth Business Trust begun in the UK.

Disadvantaged youth from various backgrounds ex-offender, disabled, orphan they should have a viable business idea,â