This is our Newsletter for 2014 providing a progress update at FARO and at each of our four rural BPO’s that you have assisted us in setting up since our inception in 2006.
As part of deliberate policy, we have focussed this past year in consolidating what we have so far established, and held back at least for the moment, establishing new BPO entities that would over extend our limited financial and volunteer human resource base. This year we concentrated on improving governance and productivity at each of our rural BPO’s.
All of this work is paying off. Our first two BPO’s located in remote rural locations are in sustainable profitable modes. Very few independent rural businesses, if any, can rival this effort by these rural youth managing an IT based out sourcing business of their own profitably from their village, whilst their parents continue with their traditional livelihood of either farming or fishing.
We started by assigning responsibilities for overseeing the four BPO’s to specific members of our BOD, together with the implementation of a mentorship program under the leadership of Dinusha Wickremesekera covering the BPO’s at Mahavilachchiya and Seenigama. Progress so far on both these initiatives has been very encouraging.
We are also fortunate to have a young Chartered Accountant Ms. Lakshika Muthumali with us to maintain our financial records and be responsible for FARO’s annual audit.
As part of our continuing efforts to improve our performance and ensure continuity of our initiatives, FARO is currently in the process of re-structuring our management team with a clear goal of passing responsibility to a younger generation of philanthropists that would carry our vision forward for years to come. We plan to have this restructuring finalised by year end.
Meanwhile, the Associates at our BPOs are moving forward, continuing to see growth in their earnings and entrepreneurial maturity, and demonstrating great resolve in meeting the many challenges usual to start up businesses. A summary of their achievements and challenges during the past year at each of our four BPO’s are noted below.
Ontime Technologies Pvt Ltd,
Ontime is our first rural BPO that was started in 2006 and is now in its 8th year of operations. Of its 18 Associates, seven have completed five years and four are from the original leadership group, including its current Chairman Nirosh Ranatunga, COO Nadeeka Karunasena and former COO Shalika Dissanayake. Its monthly turn over today is in excess of Rs 250,000 and its annual net profit for the past fiscal year was Rs 180,000.00. From this profit each of its Associate shareholders received a cash dividend of 30%, which is in addition to their monthly earnings for working at the BPO.
Ontime has its share of challenges. Unlike the other BPO’s we have set up, it does not have a parent organization close by to provide real time mentoring assistance. Despite this, the young associates have confronted the numerous challenges that arise with unusual tenacity and determination to succeed. We are also very fortunate to have the close mentoring of John Keells in providing continuous training and out sourcing work opportunities to this group. Shown below is a picture of this group from Ontime taken during their annual office picnic.
Seenigama BPO Technologies Pvt Ltd
This BPO was started in 2010.With the learning from setting up Ontime we were fortunate to have this BPO established in the very well established campus of Foundation of Goodness (FOG) in Seenigama. With the close mentoring support given by both FOG and John Keels, this young BPO took off very quickly and today it has under its wing the optimal contingent of 20 associates that we recommend for a rural BPO, averaging a monthly turnover of Rs 300,000, earning an annual net profit of Rs 383,000 last fiscal year. The company also declared its first cash dividend of 30% earlier this year. The Seenigama BPO was also visited by delegates of CHOGM 2013, who were impressed by its unique business model and with the work of its Associates.This BPO is under the competent supervision of Saman Kumara, Executive Director, and its COO, Ms Menaka Sandamali.
Eliza Agnew BPO, Uduvil
This is the third BPO that we established in 2011, following the cessation of hostilities in the North. It is located in the premises of the Uduvil Girls College, with a close mentoring role provided by the school principal Mrs Shiranee Mills. The out sourcing work is provided by the Hayleys Company under a memorandum signed with them in 2011.
Over the past two years we have been struggling to scale up its operations to a breakeven level with limited success due to several key operational issues. Currently we have seven Associates working at this BPO and we have the infrastructure in place for twenty. In recent weeks we have had several productive meetings with the work provider Hayleys and all parties are committed to scaling up both the work content and the number of seats in the short term.
For the interim, the Uduvil College and FARO are subsidizing its operational losses. We are hopeful that a quick solution would be found to put this BPO on a self funding independent mode, similar to Ontime and Seenigama.
Jaffna BPO Technologies Pvt Ltd.
This BPO was the brain child of the John Keells Group (JKH) to support the rehabilitation of the youth that were involved in the recently concluded civil war. At the request of JKH, FARO assists this venture with its unique BPO model and experiences in setting up and mentoring similar units in other locations.
This BPO was incorporated in 2014, is located in Jaffna Town, and currently has five Associates.
The out sourcing work and training are provided by the JKH Group and the plan is to scale its operations up to a 10-15 seats over the next year.
We want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our several sponsors for their ongoing support for continuing to help us with our mission. These include our Founding Promoters, FJ&G De Sarams (attorney and Secretary), KPMG (auditors), ICTA (multiple grantors), our Project Partners The Foundation of Goodness and the Uduvil Girls College, and finally our two Business Partners that provide the all-important work to our BPO, John Keells Company and the Hayleys Group.
To continue with our many initiatives we depend on your financial support. FARO is an all volunteer organization and our activities rely heavily on the continuing financial support that we receive from you, our overseas benefactors. The immediate funding goal is to bring our endowment fund balance from the current Rs 3 million to the targeted level of Rs 5 million. The income arising from this fund will enable us provide a more intensive mentoring program for all of our BPO’s, a must have need to ensure their long term sustainability. A small contribution from overseas benefactors like you, by way of a cheque drawn to FARO FOUNDATION and mailed to our Chairman, Kapila Gunawardana, at either of the addresses noted below will go a long way in realizing our goals.
(1) Kapila Gunawardana,
20135 Valhalla Square,
Ashburn, VA 20147, USA
(2) Kapila Gunawardana,
Unit 8A, No. 2, Distillery Drive,
Pyrmont, NSW 2009, Australia.
An update of FARO’s audited financial statements for Dec 31, 2013 can be viewed on our web site at www.farolanka.org.