Unilever “Saubhagya” rewards 100 top achievers
Unilever Sri Lanka was proud to recognize and reward the star performers of Saubhagya at its annual “Diriya Pranama Awards” ceremony held at Galadari Hotel recently. Saubhagya, is an endeavour designed to uplift the most deserving and needy women of rural Sri Lanka, through the enabling of financial independence. Saubhagya empowers women by providing them with a sustainable source of income as Unilever ambassadors, selling Unilever brands to households in their respective villages.
This year, more than 200 Saubhagya entrepreneurs who achieved their sales targets were rewarded, out of which the top 100 were felicitated at the ceremony for their commitment and dedication. These achievers received rewards of their choice consisting of gold or electrical items, amounting to a total of over Rs. 3.2 million.
Present at the occasion were, Prof. Sunil Jayantha Nawarathne, Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education (Former Director General, Samurdhi Authority), Mr. C D Kaluaarachchi, General Manager Samurdhi Authority, Mr, K K L Chandrathilaka, Director Banking & Finance, and Mr. Denzil Fernando, Assistant Director, Mahasangam, along with the Unilever Board of Directors. Renowned singer (Visharadha) Neela Wickramasinghe delivered the motivational speech.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Kumudu de Silva, Channel Manager, Saubhagya said, “We are extremely pleased with the impact that Project Saubhagya has made on the lives of women who were marginalized by society and faced countless hardships due to their financial status. Through Saubhagya we have elevated the social standing of these women in their villages and enhanced their quality of life.
This initiative has also created an economic impact on the country at large.” Elaborating further he adds “In addition to enabling these women to gain financial stability to clothe, feed and educate their children, we reward their dedication and hard work by felicitating them. Our aim is to instill a sense of pride at what they have achieved, along with enhanced self-esteem and confidence. We want to empower them and open their eyes to a new world filled with the hope of a brighter tomorrow.”
From humble beginnings
What started 10 years ago with just 5 women entrepreneurs has now grown to an extensive sales channel of over 2000 women from across the island. The project is implemented in collaboration with the Samurdhi Authority of Sri Lanka which grants the loans for the initial investments. The neediest rural women are nominated by the regional Samurdhi Authorities and thereafter recruited by Unilever as entrepreneurs.
Unilever gives these women invaluable exposure to the world of entrepreneurship and provides extensive sales training, covering best trading practices. The Unilever team then ensures constant knowledge enhancement and maintenance of quality standards and ethical trading practices. Unilever Saubhagya operates in 180 Samurdhi societies and has been instrumental in enhancing the livelihood of over 3,000 families.
The Company has also ensured that via employee volunteerism, Saubhagya entrepreneurs are benefited even further. This year, 2 well-deserving individuals were gifted houses with sanitary facilities. In addition 110 sets of school books were presented to children of entrepreneurs. Unilever aims to extend Saubhagya to other untapped areas. Saubhagya will continue to add vitality to the lives of rural women by creating self-made entrepreneurs who will play a pivotal role as a new breed of Unilever brand ambassadors
This year’s star performer R.M. Ranjani from Moneragala, has achieved an annual sales volume of over Rs. 4.5 million. A mother of 3 grown up children, she has been a Saubhagya entrepreneur for 4 years. “I am proud of my achievement.” She commented. “This is the 3rd consecutive year in which I have excelled in my sales performance. This success is due to my hard work and my unwavering perseverance. My husband and children have also been extremely supportive because Saubhagya has given us a new lease on life.”
She further added “I started with a weekly purchase of just Rs. 2,500 but now I purchase goods to the value of Rs. 100,000 per week.” Speaking about her life prior to Saubhagya she reminisces about how she used to earn a meager livelihood by selling vegetables at the weekly market. “I now enjoy a monthly income of around 39,000 Rupees.
My 22 year old daughter Randima who was inspired by my success is now also an entrepreneur. I encourage every woman I know, to become a Saubhagya entrepreneur because it will give them financial independence to make their dreams a reality. I want to thank Unilever for helping me make mine come true”.
258 M. Vincent Perera Mw
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