The art of producing the Nilame costume is unique to the families of the hill country and has been
passed down the generations. Though some other parts of the country do produce the Nilame costume
the roots of the practice lie in the hill country. While this is a family tradition the recent past saw many
making a living out of it and one such person is Mrs P.V.S Irangani from Hindagala, Kandy. Captured
below is the story she shared with us of her journey in making a living of a traditional art.
Our family made a livelihood of this craft from the time of my great grandfather and now my brother
and I have taken it up as our livelihood too. It has been six years since I took to it and I have always
ensured that our family’s traditional practices are treasured in every piece I create. It usually takes about
a week to produce the full costume which I sell as well as rent for about Rs.75,000. There are a few
shops that take what I sew but the issue is that I do not receive a payment for the dresses I give the
shops till a customer makes a purchase of it. This is one of the biggest challenges we face in the industry.
I don’t have money in hand to start on other work.
One of the biggest obstacles faced by small business owners is the need for money. Contrary to what is
said it is not an easy task to obtain a loan, low-income earners struggle to find people to sign for
collateral and produce evidence of wealth. Mrs. Irangani shared that she was lucky to have obtained a
loan through the ‘Diriya’ loan scheme provided especially for women by HNB FINANCE. She said it was
the perfect solution for women who strive to make something of themselves.
“I became a member of HNB FINANCE a few years ago and I obtained a Rs.50,000 loan the first time
and a Rs.150000 following that. I have continued to receive their guidance and financial advice, money
has not been a problem for me ever since.”
“HNB FINANCE has been a strength to us in more than just providing a financial service. They have
taken the initiative to conduct frequent workshops to help develop our business skills and through these
our villagers have also learnt the importance of saving and responsibly managing their money. This is
how I opened a ‘Miyulasi’ womens savings account, I was made aware of how to secure my future,”
expressed Mrs. Irangani in gratitude.
A lot of people make the mistake of obtaining a loan amount larger than what they can pay back from
small unknown firms or people which finally leads to many problems. That is why it is important that
you seek the assistance of a verified and experienced leader in the financial industry like HNB FINANCE.
They advised me on how to use the money for my business and the risks and responsibilities that come
with taking a loan. The service I have received from the staff at HNB FINANCE is unparalleled and
therefore I can’t think of anywhere else to go to fulfil my financial requirements.
This reminds me of a time that HNB FINANCE proved to genuinely care and lookout for me as more
than just a customer. I was to be forfeited of jewelry I had pawned to a different financial institution and
in my helplessness, I informed the gold loan team at HNB FINANCE and not only did they redeem my
gold for me, but they even provided me with an extra sum of money to keep in hand. Ever since then I
thought of HNB FINANCE as someone of my own.