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.
“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,” stated Mrs. Irangani.
“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,” she also stated.
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. 150,000 following that. I have continued to receive their guidance and financial advice, money has not been a problem for me ever since,” she noted.
“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,” she pointed out.
“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,” stated Mrs. Irangani.