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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Building a co-operative future in Sri Lanka

Our English word serendipity comes from Serendip, an ancient name for Sri Lanka, but the island itself has not known much serendipity for the last three decades; in the summer of 1983, a civil war started between the state and a group that wanted an independent homeland for Tamils, resulting in enormous destruction and the death of around 70,000 people.

The war ended in 2009 – since then, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned home and infrastructure has been rebuilt. But, as often happens with post-disaster reconstruction, the rebuilding of livelihoods has been neglected, and most donor groups only offer micro-credit schemes.

Co-operatives can offer something more substantial for communities, creating assets through collective entrepreneurship – and this is what we explored last month in a training course run for Sri Lankan co-operators. Normally, Co-operative College tutors travel to the learners, but the north of the island is still quite tense and the Sri Lankan army vets all foreign organisations and training events. So instead, we all met in Madurai, famous in India as home to one the biggest temples in the country.

Read the full article at Co-operative News

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