Helping Hand

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

“I don’t want to fill any more tsunami forms,” is the first thing A P Gunawathi tells strangers visiting her present home – a displaced person’s camp in Dikwella, in the Matara district. “I don’t want to fill any more tsunami forms,” is the first thing A P Gunawathi tells strangers visiting her present home – a displaced person’s camp in Dikwella, in the Matara district. “I have filled over 20 separate forms for people who say they want to help us. But I have had no help. I am sick of filling forms,” says the 38-year-old mother of two.

Gunawathi is married to a fisherman and before the tsunami in December she supplemented the family income with her own domestic business of spinning coir rope.

The tsunami destroyed her home and her husband’s boat, and also washed away her rope-spinning machine and coir for rope.

But, Gunawathi’s domestic business was so small it doesn’t qualify for assistance from international or even conventional government aid agencies.

Thousands of entrepreneurs like Gunawathi fall through the holes in the tsunami rehabilitation network, because they are unregistered, informal domestic businesses, with no links to trade chambers or even commercial b