The 6th National Congress of the Savisthri Movement

The above National Congress of the Savisthri (Women for Development Alternatives) Movement and the Fair Trade was held on 25.02.2010 at the Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo, Sri Lanka from 0900 hrs – 1900 hrs. with the participation of 600 individuals representing the 06 Districts viz Galle, Matara, Moneragala, Matale, Anuradhapura and NuwaraEliya where Savisthri programmes are being implemented, the National Office and those who provided various items produced by them for display and sale at Fair Trade exhibition, special invitees and those representing various other organizations.
At the inception the traditional oil lamp was lit by a few members of the Savisthri Staff at an auspicious time.

Commencing the programme the National Co-ordinator of the Savisthri Movement M/S. Padma Pushpakanthi gave an elucidation regarding the motive of holding the 6th National Congress. She explained that the existing social, economic and political situation in the country had exerted adverse effects on the masses and that this question was being discussed in the 06 Districts and that it was being constantly discussed with MONLAR, WASJ and PHM. Speaking further she said that the necessity of a fair trade is of utmost importance. Due to the financial crisis, the farmers and farmer women had given up their trade. More than 100,000 in the fishing, farming, plantation labour sectors and the garment sector had been thrown out of employment, violence had become the order of the day, poverty had escalated. In such a situation Savisthri could not be silent and we should contribute to the decision making process and Savisthri is concerned of humanity and not money.

There were 51 stalls in all which displayed textiles, organic food items like various kinds of yams, vegetables, fruits and fish and by products fresh and cooked, sweet – meats, cereals, herbal cunjee, various creative work all turned out by the Savisthri Women. There was a brisk sale of the items.
Oil cakes were made on the spot.
At another place a woman from down south was engaged in turning out pillow – lace.
A lecture was delivered by Dr. Mrs. Janaki Jayawardhana,

Senior Lecturer attached to the Colombo Campus on the Global Warming which was being experienced by Sri Lanka as well as the whole Universe and it's effects. In addition she explained the existing electoral system in our country and how the entrepreneurs provide financial assistance to the election candidates who in turn looked after their interests ignoring the pressing problems of the poverty stricken. To vouch for it she displayed CDs showing the unhealthy conditions in which the city dwellers live with large families. After her lecture arrangements were made for the participants to partake of the lunch consisting of rice and curries prepared only of organic vegetables and green leaves of high quality nutritious value without fish or meat.

Savisthri members from the Six Districts gave speeches regarding their progress as a consequence of the assistance and guidance given by Savisthri :-

Lasanthi Sandamali of the Anuradhapura District said :-

ü I joined the Savisthri Movement as a Savisthri infant.
ü At that time I was not affiliated to any organization or society.
ü My husband is in the army holding a high post and worked in the Jaffna District.
ü At that time I was confined to the house attending to all the requirements of my husband when he came home on leave.
ü I was not social and had no connections with anybody. I was just a prisoner in the house.
ü With the meeting I had with Bandula Sumithra of the Anuradhapura District, I gave as awareness to my husband regarding to activities of the Savisthri Movement.
ü Thereafter I participated in small programmes of the Savisthri Anuradhapura District.
ü In view of the fact that my husband was an Army Officer and my first child was 2 months old at that time my participation in Savisthri activities did not meet with my husband's consent.
ü Undeterred by all these obstacles I continued my work and was able to solve the problems that cropped up.
ü I have worked as a Mini Society Treasurer, Secretary and District Co-ordinator.
ü Since I underwent a 06 months course in Agriculture, I give training as a Resource Person and now I have 07 years experience in this sphere. I am quite happy that I am doing all this work whilst working as a wife and a mother. I appeal to you to rise from your slumber and join the Savisthri – Women for Development Alternatives.

Mrs. Malagammana from the Matale District.
ü I joined the Savisthri Movement due to it's transparency, collectivity and confidence.
ü I have five years experience and now I work as the District Committee Secretary.
ü I kindly request you to join the Savisthri Movement.

Mrs. Karuna Ramanayake of the Moneragala District.
ü I have suffered considerably as a resident of the Moneragala District.
ü I was a house – wife looking after my husband and the children.
ü Savisthri means women going in search of alternatives.
ü I too got the opportunity to join these Savisthri women.
ü With the Mini Society concept introduced to the village, I too became a member and proud to say that the assets of our Mini Society stands at approximately Rs. 3 ½ lakhs.

Mrs. Padmini of the Galle District.
ü I joined the Savisthri Movement in the year 2002.
ü I joined a small group by contributing a small amount ie Rs. 05/-.
ü This developed into a Mini Society and I become it's chair person.
ü There was objection from my husband who told me to refrain from attending the programmes of the Savisthri Movement.
ü I requested him to give up liquor so that I too would stay at home.
ü He didn't give up liquor. I told my husband you continue taking liquor I will continue attending the Savisthri Programmes.
ü With the Tsunami catastrophe several organizations came to the affected areas. But we noticed that the Savisthri Orgnaization which came to the assistance of the tsunami victims possessed so many things that one could learn.
ü Since my husband is a fisherman, he has work only for 06 months' of the year I use my might to support the family in the next six months.
ü I am not in debt to anybody.
ü Today I am in this position because of the Savisthri Movement.
ü So I kindly request all of you to join Savisthri.

Mrs. Mary (A Tamil woman) from NuwaraEliya District.
ü I am indebted to Savisthri for giving me this opportunity of joining hands with Savisthri.
ü I pray that Savisthri get the strength to perform it's valuable programmes in the future.

Mrs. W. S. Nirosha of the Matara District.
ü I joined the Savisthri Movement about 02 years back.
ü It is through "Savisthri" that I learnt to live without being a burden to the country.
ü Various organizations visit the village and spread jealousy and hatred. But Savisthri does not do such things.
ü I have the ability to give an awareness regarding organic home – gardening, cultivating in pots and containers for those who do not have land. This knowledge I got from Savisthri.
ü Our members have been able to protect our culture and various traditional practices that are becoming extinct.
ü Savisthri introduced a market to us for our produce.
ü I respect the name "Savisthri" at all times.

The congress was an attempt made by the Savisthri Movement to create a just society, a better world to live in.

The days work ended with a cultural show out of which a Kandyan dance performed by the Matara District dance troupe won the applause of many.