The Da Bindu Collective also joins in supporting the ongoing protest demanding the government to fulfill its election promise to abolish all microfinance loans.
Joining the protest in Hingurakgoda organized by the Women’s Coalition Affected by Microfinance Debt, the Da Bindu Collective promised that to give its full support to the fight. In addition to the Da Bindu Collective, Shrama Abhimani and Red organizations also joined in the protest representing for the Katunayake Free Trade Zone.
Commenting to the media after the protest, Chamila Thushari of the Da Bindu Collective said that they would support to this fight for women of Katunayake who trapped microfinance scam and it will be a fight of every women in island who affected.
“Women working in the free trade zone cannot go to work after getting married and having children. So they have taken a loan to become self-employed. But no grace period is given to repay these loans. So if you take a loan this month, you have to repay it from next month. Some lenders cut the first installment also. So how do women become self-employed and continue to pay off debts,” ask Chamila Thushari.
According to Chamila, the situation has worsened and there are 11 microfinance companies operating in Katunayake alone. Some women have borrowed from all of those companies. That is to repay the loan taken from other company. That is the reason to create debt cycle.
“2.8 million From the people of Sri Lanka are the borrowers. 2.4 million Of them are women. Another aspect related to this is the decrease in assets for women. Despite land ownership, only 16 percent of women own land. They do not have the opportunity to mortgage their assets and take loans. The easiest thing to do is to get a few people together and borrow from these companies at high-interest rates on unfair terms. About 200 lives have been paid so far. In some places women have been sexually abused. According to a report by a UN rapporteur, one woman said that all lost she had and only hope is sell her kidney to get out of the debt trap.”