As part of its ongoing efforts to empower and uplift the livelihood of its farmer co-operative societies, Dipped Products PLC (DPL) distributed school bags to the children of 1,500 smallholder rubber farmers for the 10th consecutive year, under its flagship Firstlight CSR project.
This year’s distribution recorded the largest donation of school bags, which was nearly a two-fold increase from the previous year, bringing the total value of the distribution up to nearly Rs. 1 million.
Taking place at the PinwattaBodimaluViharaya in Medagama, Monaragala, this latest distribution marks the Company’s continued efforts to support the smallholder rubber farming communities, by ensuring that their essential needs are looked after.
“Especially in this time of economic uncertainty, with the nation facing significant challenges and hardships, it is truly touching to see the positive impact which we continue to have on the underprivileged smallholder rubber farming communities. We believe that programmes like Firstlight hold the key to enhancing the livelihoods of our 1500-strong rubber farmers, providing them with an improved quality of life, whilst paving the way to open up new opportunities and a brighter future. This is why, with the enthusiastic response we have received over the years, we have now also expanded this school bag distribution to include the District of Kegalle,” Dipped Products Deputy Managing Director, PushpikaJanadheera said.
Since its inception, the DPL Firstlight project has been assisting the smallholder rubber farmer communities to attain a sustainable livelihood with the provision of fertiliser to enhance the growth of their rubber plantations. In addition to this, DPL also conducts trainings for the latex farming communities, thereby enabling them to improve their knowledge and up skill, whilst enhancing their competitiveness in the local rubber industry.
Over the years, the DPL Firstlight initiative has continued to expand its farmer network, whilst providing assistance to several underprivileged latex farmers in the remote villages of Sri Lanka.
“I started supplying latex to DPL in 2020, and until then I was supplying rubber sheets to other companies. Up until now, none of the other companies I had supplied to, have provided me with the benefits which DPL has given. DPL not only offers me an extremely fair price for latex, but the Company has also provided my children, and the other famers’ children with school bags for the New Year,” said R.M Gunawardana, a farmer who joined the DPL Farmer Co-operative Society, last year.