Originally published on September 27, 2016.
In 2009, 20 years after fleeing the conflict between Sri Lanka and the separatist Tamil Tigers, 59-year-old Subramaniam Yogadas and his family returned to his coastal village in the Eastern district of Trincomalee. They had been refugees in India and the end of the conflict allowed them to rejoin their few surviving relatives.
Amaranthé Bay, a small luxury hotel poised between a lagoon and the sea, offered a bright new beginning for him and his family of six, which includes a disabled child. Yogadas was the hotel’s first employee. Amaranthé Bay’s goal was to develop the property to offer employment and training opportunities to the conflict-affected and impoverished local community. For the majority of the hotel’s 70 staff, including war widows who resettled after the conflict, Amaranthé Bay offered a second chance to live.
It is one of about 50 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) supported by USAID Sri Lanka’s Biz+ program. Started in 2011, Biz+ targets SMEs seeking to double or triple their businesses, and then provides assistance to help them succeed. Amaranthé Bay owners maximized the technical support provided by Biz+ and invested over six times as much of their own capital ($3.3 million) in the project, which included building the hotel. It now provides 138 jobs.
This excerpt is from a story in USAID's FrontLines magazine. Read the whole piece about Biz+'s impact on Sri Lanka here.