In 2013 the founders of the Foundation Kalapuwa were on vacation in Sri Lanka. They observed a large number of people manually dragging a net out of the sea and the question arose as to why these people were not out fishing at sea in their boats. The answer was as simple as it was painful, the Tsunami had destroyed all their boats and no funds were available to buy new ones and the banks were unwilling to lend money to them.
This formed the starting point of the idea to help these underprivileged people, who showed an innate entrepreneurship, with the creation of a micro-credit system to help them back into a sustainable work situation. The Foundation was set up and initially five micro-credits were given for the purchase of new out-rigger fishing boats (in Sri Lanka these are known as Catamarans).
Currently (2019) the Foundation has more than one hundred active micro-credits helping those wishing to start their own business thereby offering a measure of self-sufficiency.
The Foundation is a non-profit organisation and the single aim is to help others become economically self-sufficient thereby supporting their families and the general welfare on the peninsula.
The rules are simple:
- The prospective entrepreneur presents a brief business plan and location
- Foundation representatives will make a house call and evaluate the plan\
- A micro-credit will be arranged, or not as the case may be
- If a micro-credit is feasible a contract is signed, the monthly payments agreed and a cheque is given
- The Foundation checks that the business is actually in operation
- No interest on the loan is charged, a unique occurrence in Sri Lanka, and the loan has to be repaid within 36 months
- If the first 24 monthly payments have been made in full and on time the remaining 12 months will be remitted
- Members of the Foundation make regular visits to Kalapuwa, at least three times a year, and make a special effort to visit and talk to all the entrepreneurs and to evaluate the progress being made