Urumaya Social Enterprise” was established in 15th June 2008 in Tsunami affected district focusing on group initiatives as apposed to individual entrepreneurs. Utilizing grants from CIDA, JDC and Give2Asia.

Gift2 Asia, and the Dutch government grant CHA established multiple sector enterprises in the districts of Hambanthota, Galle, Matara, Kalutara, Batti,Ampara and Jaffna. Our sector interventions reflected interests of families in the South , East and the North, capitalizing on areas of tradition and expertise, with an accent on women headed households and home based enterprises.

The project was concerned about the saturation of some local markets by an overabundance of similar businesses; lack of access to appropriate markets; poor product design/quality; the creation of and/or strengthening of a dependency culture; a high focus on some sectors with a relative neglect of others; and the lack of sector-specific linkages and strategic planning between districts and national level.

CHA, its district offices and other stakeholders who are involved in livelihood recoveries have studied that a coordinated, collaborative approach focusing on long-term strategies is needed to maximize the benefits for people who earn their livelihood in specific sectors.    Based on discussions with the team, consultations and organizations working in livelihood development, and review of availably the following sectors were selected for starting and improving enterprises.

With the above purpose, six main sustainable livelihood options suitable for a long term development approach especially for sector developing in country were decided. Namely:

  • Rice based products
  • Mushroom cultivation
  • Mushroom based products
  • Pottery/ handicrafts
  • Integrated farm
  • Dairy Products

Before commencement of activities, sectors were closely analyzed in terms of the following criteria:

  • Beneficiary commitment and willingness to start/ improve their lives
  • Existing markets and future marketing opportunities
  • Existing quality of the products including design, packaging
  • Need for training

In order to easily understand the projects, the overall entrepreneurial development plan can be laid out as follows;

Experience gained by a field visit to Thailand (Doi tung) to study the enterprise supported the finalizing of livelihoods options. Although the original Doi tung concept is difficult to implement fully in tsunami affected area some areas of the concept such as selection of beneficiaries, selection of village with same interest, etc were practiced during the process.

Products based industries

Rice based Products

Highlights of current activities

Cupcakes ready for sale

The bakery in Kalutara introduced Chocolate cupcakes to its existing range of products; The 25 cupcakes that were made in the first trial batch flew off the shelves within a couple of hours, thanks to schoolchildren who are regular customers of the bakery.

With a view of the bakery having an advantage on its proximity to a school, further marketing tac-tics were planned to attract them. The cupcakes were one of such initiatives. The staff was trained on making the cupcakes, and the intention is to continue selling them and increase the number of cupcakes baked as per the demand.

Similar marketing incentives are being considered for the Tangalle bakery to introduce simple and attractive packaging which is cost effective for products such as cake, rusks, milk toffee as well as new product expansions of these ranges. Ideas for packaging have been put forth and are being considered for implementation.

Mushroom and Mushroom based products

Highlights of current activities

Product varieties available at the mushroom centre

The mushroom based product range now includes mushroom drumsticks in addition to the chutney and pickle. Packaging has been completed for this product as well. In addition, a sausage stuffing machine has been sent to the Matara centre. The products are being currently marketed at the Cargills Food City.

Advertisements for Chutney and Pickle

Marketing and advertising initiatives are being proposed to promote the product line, including advertising in the Newspapers and the Television. Initiatives of providing distributor ships are also being considered, so that products will be available for the advertising to be effective. A marketing plan for the centre and its products will be drawn up in the near future.

Dairy Production

Highlights of current activities

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Employees work at the packeting machine Chocolate flavored milk packets ready to be distributed

The trainees have now commenced regular production activities at the centre in Jaffna. The current variety includes Vanilla and Chocolate flavored milk and these products are being currently distributed through private outlets and are available in shops in the town.

Options for more milk collection are being considered in order to meet targets; to increase sales packaging changes are also being discussed for the next round of products.  

 Integrated Farm

Highlights of current activities

A total of 12 cows (including 2 calves) have arrived at the farm and are being fed, cleaned, maintained and milked by the relevant personnel employed in the farm. The milk test for good quality is conducted both the government wet sergeants as well as at Milco who buys our milk.

Cows in the farm

Elsewhere in the farm, mixed crop cultivation is being undertaken by the Environmental division.


The handloom centre was commenced with 5 women who underwent a 2 month training program on basic sewing methods and embroidery. Sewing machines and necessary tools such as material, thread, needles, etc. have been provided to them at the centre which only concentrates on handloom material and products.

The handloom material is purchased and provided to these centres where the women apply their skills to convert them into a range of products such as ladies’ blouses, bedsheets, pillowcases, etc. All products, at the moment, are being produced based on orders made from nearby areas.

Highlights of current activities

Handloom material to be sent to the centre

Options for expanding the business are being discussed at the moment, with tentative plans to move the outlet to a place where sales can be expanded.

 Also, recently, large amounts of materials were sent from Colombo to the centre, complete with designs, specifications and samples in order to improve the quality of the work being done. With the next batch of products, the range is to be expanded to include bedspreads, cushion covers, pencil cases, serviettes, table mats and coasters. Once the employees of the centre become accustomed to the new range, further varieties are being planned to be included.