how micro-credit will change the worlds economy


Lawrence Keenan, Director of CSLI was the co-founder of Rose Charities Micro Credit (2006), established to provide low interest small loans to families needing to (re)start small home-based businesses after the destruction of the tsunami on communities like Kalmunai in Sri Lanka.

Many people wanted and needed to work but had no access to money. Micro-Credit runs like a small community bank, lending out small amounts for 6-8 months, helping farmers (chicken, rice crops), small shops (groceries, bakers), crafts people (jewelery, clothes makers) and trades people (builders, potters, brick makers) get back on their feet. Most loans are given to women and all participants become members of this community bank, where profits go to grow their economy, help with training and education of their children.

The Keenans and CSLI have been the major contributors to Rose Micro Credit, donating about $100,000 over the last four years. With other kind donors like Paul Pigeon from TD Waterhouse, Gord Keep and model Noot Seear, these funds have generated almost $250,000 of loans and support over 1000 families in and around Kalmunai. 500 new families were expected to receive their first loan this year (2011) as the total number of loans given expect to double, until record severe floods destroyed crops and livestock, putting half of Sri Lanka under water, isolating communities for weeks without food or help. Although this will delay growth of our projects this year, with the help of Rose contingency programs, family-based businesses are likely to recover much faster than if they were left on their own. As always, Sri Lankans have proven to be extremely resilient.


Why Micro Credit?

The great thing about micro-credit, if it is run well, unlike traditional charity, gives again and again. It is the ultimate recycling system for good money: as each loan is repaid, another is made. The interest that lenders pay is used to cover the operational costs of collecting and distributing, so that every 6-8 months, another loan can be made to a new family business. All donations entirely go to these needy families. Any $100 donated will over 10 years, generate about $1500 of funds, helping about 15 families out of poverty. The reason why this project is so important in our Kalmunai community is that it provides families a dignified way to make an economic living while Rose Charities support the community through social programs like preschool education, parental training & counselling, education & scholarships through the help from Vancouver health & medical volunteers (ongoing since 2004) and funding from institutes like CIDA (2008) and the Optimus Foundation of Switzerland (2010). Rose Charities Sri Lanka is a registered charity & NGO (Non-Government Organisation)  in Sri Lanka.

Rose’s Story

Rose Charities was founded by Josephine de Freitas and Dr William Grut (brother & sister) in Vancouver, evolving from AMDA (Association of Medical Doctors of Asia, founded in Japan and similar to Doctors Without Borders). William a Canadian physician, was working in the devastation of Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1990s and formed Rose Charities Canada, becoming a registered charity in May 2000 (reg.no.85944 2303 RR0001) to support projects in Cambodia. With Josephine’s outstanding organisational ability, Rose Charities projects expanded to Sri Lanka after the tsunami and now has support operations in Vietnam, Nepal, Pakistan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Guatemala and Haiti, and has attracted the support of Jan and Bill Johnston (past Canadian Consul General to Vietnam), Frank Borowicz & the Vancouver Board of Trade, and Elizabeth & Don Hillman (Order of Canada) locally.

Many of CSLI charity projects partner with Rose Charities Canada and Rose Charities Sri Lanka in particular. Much of their good work has been done during difficult times: civil wars, natural disasters and social unrest, and yet their good work continues to expand. The Sri Lankan connection with Rose began with three Sri Lankan-born Canadians living in Vancouver:  Anthony Richards, who lost over 30 members of his family in the 2004 tsunami, Yoga Yogendren, past president of the Sri Lanka Friendship Association of BC, and Michael Ramanaden, now President of the Rose Charities Sri Lanka Committee, all with solid ties in the Vancouver & BC community.

All participants of Rose Charities are volunteer workers and 100% of donations go direct to these programs.






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