Training for work

The need

Recently Asha Trust has begun to invest a greater proportion of our money in direct training for employment. There is a stigma in living in this poor area and even for those who gain qualifications it can be difficult to find work. So although we still believe support for the school is important, we have recently begun to invest more in creating opportunities to enable people to enter careers and earn a steady income.  The impact of this will not be only on their lives, but those of their whole families.


We were fortunate in finding fantastic partners in Harpo Gooneratne, a successful businessman who owns a chain of restaurants in Colombo and his wife Cheryl Gooneratne who runs a beauty business.  With their help we set up courses in HAIR AND BEAUTY/BARBERING and CATERING AND HOSPITALITY.

The courses

Hair and beauty

We have run 3 courses with up to 14 students on each.  The course lasts three months and involves going to a salon in central Colombo.


We have run 2 courses with 16 students on each.  Each course lasts 3 months – 1 month in the classroom, learning English and customer care skills and then two months placement in hotels and restaurants around Colombo.


On completing the course, the students gain certificates from well known and respected experts in their field. But there are also many less tangible benefits – the increase in their self-esteem and confidence for example. For most it is the first time they have been into central Colombo and going there themselves and meeting people from outside their small community is initially a huge challenge. Once they’ve done that however, it increases their confidence and their aspirations for the future. The little work that is available where they live is nearly all unskilled day labouring work. For the first time, the students can imagine a steady income and a career.


We have a 90% completion rate on the courses and it is indeed enabling people to find work and even set up their own businesses.  See below for stories which show the difference it has made for them.

NISHA‘s story.

SUDASHAN and RANJEEVAN are working in restaurants in Colombo.