The Mia Fratino Foundation is a ‘not for profit’ charitable endeavor established in 2015 by two Australian couples to make a real impact on women’s poverty in Sri Lanka.
The name Mia Fratino is Esperanto for ‘My Sister’ and captures the goal to purely focus upon the plight of women in developing countries.
After working in Sri Lanka for more than 7 years, and seeing the disparity between urban and rural incomes, it became obvious that many of the causes of the poverty was due to a lack of opportunity for people to create income.
We decided to create a micro-finance system to fund small business ventures set up by Sri Lankan village women, so that they can have an independent income that they could control. The Foundation funds the training of the women in basic business skills and then lends them interest-free money to help them set up their micro-businesses.
This saves the women from the exploitation by corrupt money lenders or abusive domestic situations that stop them from being independent women. The Foundation believes that by empowering women to have financial control of their lives will have the greatest impact on poverty.
Day to day running of the Foundation is overseen by Jacinta Holmick, an Australian ex-pat resident of Sri Lanka. Jacinta is a civil engineer, mother of three and presently completing her MBA. She developed a strategy that ensured that all funding would reach the women and not be ‘diluted’ by corrupt officials or excessive ‘administrative costs’.
We are very serious about getting the maximum amount of money to the people we are supporting. Therefore all functions of the Foundation are undertaken on a voluntary basis so that every dollar raised is directed to the women’s programme to achieve the greatest impact.
Our goal is to help 1000 Sri Lankan women start micro-businesses by 2020, which should then create incredible role model momentum for other women to follow so as to build a better life for themselves and their families.