Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mrs. Jeyamangalam Ganesharatnam - Aunt, Teacher, Leader

When we were kids she was the aunt who pampered and spoilt us. She had the peculiar ability to attract children and keep them under control. Each one of us at some point, thought or wished that we were aunty's favourite nephew or niece. With age, realised that it was a highly contested space!

During war times, besides the times she visited us and stayed with us, the interactions were not regular.  On my way on the first post war visit to her house. I got in to a three wheeler at Point pedro and told that I want to be dropped close to "Veerapathira kovil", driver asked "Is it to Jeyam aunty's house?". I was surprised and replied "Yes, how did you know that she is my aunt?". He replied "No, she is Jeyam aunty to all of us".

I knew she had a great career as a Teacher serving in Gampola and then in Point Pedro. At that point, although I knew she was in to social services. I was ashamed that didn't know details of her transformation to "Jeyam aunty for all".

Then I understood, how she has given community leadership to form a grass root level, not for profit women's empowerment organisation during tough times. Through this  organisation she has managed to obtain funds to establish and run a micro financing system for the village. It was a mini Grameen at work! Frequently, what she set up is referred as the model for those who want to set up similar initiatives in the region. She also was engaged in promoting livelihood projects for women. Introducing and encouraging them to start small businesses around sewing, creating packaged food, etc.

I admire for what she has managed to achieve. Mainly the amount of lives she has been able to positively impact on. Fortunately, I was one of those lucky  ones to have had a chance to get positively influenced and inspired by her. For me she is a real life hero.

May her soul rest in peace!

Mrs. Jeyamangalam Ganesharatnam (22/05/1946 to 10/09/2015)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Copying cycles

Bicycle rider in front of Oslo Opera House
I am pretty old now and embarrassingly I don't know to ride a two wheeler, three wheeler or a four wheeler. Its something that my mother never forgets. She asks me very often "When are you planning to get your license?". I will answer that another day.

Nevertheless my inability to ride a bicycle has not impacted on my fascination for them nor seeing opportunities around them. (at least I feel so)

I have this strong feeling that utilising commoditisation of 3D printing, someone will be able to make a strong impact on the large cycle market in the Northern Sri Lanka. Potentially if it could also add some more color and variety to the existing largely dull bicycles, it might and could go viral.

First question, is it doable?

Few years back I stumbled on the video below. It clearly shows that it was done a few years back. So definitely 'do-able'.  Technically I don't see a blocker in printing one of it with a dedicated team.

Can a business be made out of it?

My gut says yes, at the moment its not supported by any analysis or facts. I feel the way to do it, is to go through a phase of discovery. Lets form a team, pocket in some of our funds, buy 3D printer/s, material and work with a target day in mind. This exercise could help us establish whats the value addition or differentiation we could bring in. I believe in an affordable, personalisation trend with some super cool fibre mountain bikes hitting the roads with 3D printing.

So what next?

I had been trying to cajole the YIT team to buy in to this concept to run as the next project. Hasn't entirely sold it to the team, but at least have a few like Preethi, who seems to be open to explore. So I thought lets open up a wider discussion on this.

What do you think? Would you like to join this initiative? If needed, we can make this an open design? Eagerly looking forward to hear from the community.