Polio Disabled Father Seeks Financial Help To Build Sustainable Service Business
by Sunil Shantha
(Kiribathgoda, Western Province, Sri Lanka)
My name is Sunil Shantha and I am a 41-year-old polio-disabled father living in Sri Lanka, my country of birth.
My residential address, used also for my business, is 191/A, Sarasavi Mawatha, Wewalduwa, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.
I am married and have a four-year-old son, who is presently having a Montessori education. I am from a low-income middle class family.
At the age of seven I was infected with Polio. I can't recall exactly how bad I felt physically then.
According to my parents, I had a high fever while my entire body became cold and shivering. My left leg had immediately become lifeless.
I started using a pair of crutches at the age of nine. Until then, for almost two years, any movement I made was by dragging myself along the ground. My family didn't have the means to buy me even a pair of crutches.
A couple of months later the local community in our village came to my aid by presenting me with a tricycle.
This enabled me to travel between home and school and complete my Primary and Secondary Education, and enter and Graduate from the University of Kelaniya with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in the year 1999.
My left leg is very thin, weak and lifeless. My right leg is also slightly affected, though not as bad as the other.
As I am dependent on a pair of crutches, the performance of my day-to-day activities is slowed and I am unable perform to the best of my expectations.
After graduating from the Campus, travelling by public transport with my physical handicap became a major setback to secure any employment to suit my qualifications.
According to the laws of Sri Lanka there was no provision during those years, within the Construction Industry, to have buildings equipped with facilities for the disabled.
Therefore, in 2003 I rented a 15'x30' office and opened a Communication Centre.
My Business premise is situated close to the University of Kelaniya. It offers services such as photocopying, typesetting, graphic designing and telephone calls to many students.
But my capacity for growth and expansion is limited. If my business is to survive on a long time basis its operations should be financially sustainable.
This can be achieved only if the total income generated is more than the total operational costs. As it is there is hardly any profit margin between income and expenditures.
It is important for me to maintain my commitment to my home while continuing my business.
As I have stated, my unfortunate physical disability limits me in generating an additional income to supplement the expenses. I desperately need stable financial assistance to expand my business and establish myself.
Even at present I do not have a home of my own and we are staying on rent in a two-roomed block, attached to my Communication Centre.
Paying for food, electricity and the education of my child is very burdensome to me. Even the three-wheeler transport I own has to be maintained and the cost of fuel is very high.
I appreciate that I be given advice and a monetary benefits to expand my Communication Centre business.
My focus is to have additional staff to run my office and offer better and more efficient service to a large circle at customers. My business is driven by demand for better service.
Only with a generous grant will I be able to break the vicious cycle of poverty by opening avenues for the generation of an additional sustainable income.