The second workshop on entrepreneurial skills for former combatants concluded in Vavuniya on October 5th. Arranged by the Bureau of the Commissioner General for Rehabilitation, with support from Prof Rajiva Wijesinha’s decentralized budget, the programme was conducted by Business Consultancy Services which had conducted the previous workshop with funding from Prof Wijesinha’s 2010 decentralized budget.
Thirty youngsters participated actively, and seemed to absorb much of what was taught, as seen in the business plans they produced in the final session. They had been divided into five groups, all of which described production and marketing strategies for consumer items. 5 Star Shop sold shirts, while the Royal Group concentrated on sarongs. Styles had slippers and Daittannik school bags (with caps thrown in free with the larger bags), with New Star dealing in bats.
More than 20 of the trainees expressed a preference to work in the private sector, though they also noted that education and training also required private sector involvement. At the conclusion of the presentations Prof Wijesinha gave a brief English lesson, using the primary level textbooks that were used for training conducted in the Ratnapura District with another section of his decentralized budget.
The programme was facilitated by the Vavuniya Government Agent Mrs Charles, who is now in the process of setting up micro-credit facilities with input from Prof Wijesinha’s decentralized budget funds. It is hoped that this will be through a local bank that will encourage former combatants in business initiatives.
By Pushpi Weerakoon