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MAS Holdings changing lives in post conflict Killinochchi

 

By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor
    
In many developing countries in Asia, the apparel industry is the largest employer in manufacturing. Given the enormous export potential of Sri Lanka, the apparel industry sector grew from a cottage industry to machine-operated large factories during the past twenty years. Today the apparel industry in the country is the second largest export commodity group with over US$4 billion (Estimates 2013) in exports annually.  


 

MAS Holdings, one of Sri Lanka’s largest apparel conglomerates, founded by Mahesh Amalean, Ajay Amalean and Sharad Amalean with more than 28 factories and design studios, employs over 58,000 people across five countries. The Sri Lankan apparel giant MAS Holdings  has established two massive factories in  Killinochchi  in the  former war-torn  district in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.  

The MAS Holdings large garment factory “Vaanavil” at Ariviyal Nagar is built on the side of the newly constructed Colombo – Kilinochchi rail road that links the North and South of Sri Lanka. The MAS Active (Pvt) Ltd started its operations in Killinochchi in mid last year, three year after the Sri Lankan conflict ended.  In September 2013  the “ Vaanavil”  factory  was  opened  with nearly 450 employees  and will expand up to 1800  employees by the end of 2015.  90 percent of “Vaanavil” factory workers are women from Killinochchi. In addition, thirty employees with technical skills are from the South of the country.

The Global Editor for Foreign Exchange Diplomatic Society (FETDS),  on a visit to the Killinochchi “Vaanavil” factory operated  under MAS Active (Pvt) Ltd met Ms Shyamali Liyanage, Manager Human Resources and Administration.  Ms Liyanage,  a NDT  graduate  from the University of  Moratuwa in Textile Clothing  Engineering,  has been working  with  MAS Holdings  at various locations in Sri Lanka for  more than ten years.  In an  exclusive interview with the  Global Editor, Ms Liyanage said, “Most of  the  girls in the age group of 18 to 30  years  who are working here were affected  by the conflict. Among the total workforce there are some ex combatants too.”

“Some of the girls are the sole earners and have started to rebuild their lives.  “They have started to construct their own houses and help their other family members,” said the Manager for Human Resources at MAS Active “Vaanavil” factory.


Taking the  lessons  from the other MAS holdings factories located  in Sri Lanka and in other countries  MAS Active “ Vaanavil”   factory  promotes workplace ethics through its “ Go Beyond Program”  to empower  women . The various projects and activities  implemented by the “ Vaanavil”   factory located in Killinochchi  has provided further means of fostering understanding and will pave the way to  achieve higher standards of  sustainable development for the people of Kilinochchi in a post conflict situation.

 


 
 
 
 

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