Microloans have been praised worldwide for their ability to help women start businesses and rise out of poverty. But in Sri Lanka, microloans with exploitative interest rates are having the opposite effect.
Traditionally, women in Sri Lanka do not fish for a living. But in Jaffna, where many men died, were wounded or went missing during the civil war, Rasathurai Sarojathevi is teaching a group of 20 women to earn their livings from fishing. Even when the rains don’t cooperate, local women are taking the lead in earning for their families.
About 16,000 cases of missing persons remain open in Sri Lanka, even though the country’s civil war ended nearly a decade ago. One woman whose son disappeared in 2008 continues to lead a group of families searching for their missing loved ones by organizing strikes and demonstrations to remind people that these cases remain unsolved.