Foundation research

How the RYTHM Foundation supports conflict-affected low-income Sri Lankans – The Island

The RYTHM Foundation, the social impact arm of global QI Group, embarked on a Sustainable Community Project (SCP) in Sri Lanka in 2019 to rebuild the lives of 500 low-income families in one of the poorest people in the country after the civil war in Sri Lanka.

A legacy of the project is a brick-making factory that has helped gradually rebuild the lives of people in Mullaitivu district, where more than 70% of households live below the poverty line.

The project is a collaboration between RYTHM, LEADS Sri Lanka and Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka. LEADS and Habitat NGOs are actively involved in transforming lives and building homes for low income families across Sri Lanka.

The facility is far from being a conventional brickyard. Instead, the plant produces Compressed Stabilized Earth Bricks (CSEB) – an environmentally friendly alternative to cement blocks. The raw materials used in the production of CSEBs come from responsible sources. Additionally, the bricks are dried naturally using solar energy instead of wood-fired kilns which contribute to deforestation and air pollution.

The factory has changed countless lives in the neighborhood – and naturally for the better.

Although he was rehabilitated and reintegrated into society after the 26-year standoff ended, Thevathason faced extreme difficulty in finding employment – ​​until he was employed as a laborer in the factory. As a result, he finally earns a living wage to support his family.

Another inspirational tale concerns Radeesh, a young man who struggled to pay off his debts as he desperately tried to rebuild his family home after the conflict. Today he is employed as a driver in the factory and hopes to save enough money to provide a decent living for his family and provide a permanent roof over their heads.

Sivakumari is another beneficiary of the community sustainability project. She has the manufacturer to thank for her project office work and a stable income after being displaced by war and abandoned by her husband.

Another poignant story is that of Paraman and his family. They lived in many camps during the war before returning home with a sick child. Again, the factory played an important role in helping the family rebuild their property.

RYTHM has supported several initiatives that encourage and empower communities across Sri Lanka. The country is particularly dear to the heart of its founder, Umayal Eswaran, who was born and raised in Colombo.

Nonetheless, Umayal is equally passionate about improving vulnerable communities elsewhere in the world.

“Projects that promote livelihood generation and self-reliance are needed among all affected communities, wherever they are,” Umayal says. “The RHYTHM Foundation believes in helping to make these efforts a reality.”

RYTHM’s SCP initiatives help transform economically impacted populations around the world into long-term self-sufficient communities. The program has helped countless beneficiaries – from children to women, from the urban poor to rural communities, to social enterprises and micro-enterprises.

Local partners receive grants to establish and facilitate programs that promote and strengthen the Foundation’s three main focus areas: education, gender equality and sustainable human development. The initiative also embraces a core purpose of RYTHM: to empower lives and transform communities.