Subitha: Unlikely Entrepreneur?

Neither a civil war, family problems, sleepless nights nor a weak heart could stop 36-year-old Subitha from Visuvamadu in the North of Sri Lanka, from running a successful enterprise. Soon after completing a diploma in sewing, Subitha fell in love but sadly, her father was unable to provide a wedding dowry for her. Subitha was determined to prove that she would not be a burden, and started sewing and selling baby clothes.

“It gave me quiet satisfaction that I was not depending on others. The training I received gave me the confidence to stand on my own two feet and earn my own money. I did not buy anything for me from those early earnings. I used them to buy milk powder and biscuits for my child.”

Subitha received a seed capital grant from CARE to construct a workshop, having previously worked out of her cramped home, as well as purchasing equipment for expansion including motors for sewing and embroidery machines, furniture, and a computer. Chrysalis, working with CARE, provided additional basic training in marketing and business management.  All the funding is thanks to CARE’s partnership with the H&M Foundation.

Subitha is now the proud owner of a small business, producing a wide variety of products ranging from specialist handmade artificial flower arrangements for weddings to home-ware and baby products.  She employs four young women, giving them the guidance to one day start their own businesses.  Such has been her success that Subitha has been chosen by the Department for Industries to train other women in several districts across Sri Lanka to develop their skills. One of the most important lessons that she teaches her students is to persevere and keep trying until they achieve their goal. Being able to share her skills and own experiences with others make her particularly proud.