The "Karthikai" or Gloriosa Lily has been proclaimed the official national flower of Eelam Tamils (Eelam being the Tamil Homeland in the North Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka). It is used as a symbol of identity, honour, and hope for Eelam Tamils who had been persecuted by the Sri Lankan government, forcing many to leave their homeland in the midst of a horrific genocide and tragic civil war. The lily has the spectrum of colours contained in the Tamil Eelam national flag. Today, on May 18th, we remember the genocide of Eelam Tamils and recognize that although it has been 12 years since the civil war ended, we still have work to do to uplift our community back home.
Palmera is an organization that innovates sustainable livelihoods for the most vulnerable in Sri Lanka. Knowing that we were a brand new small business, my intent was to promise a modest percentage of 10% of proceeds from the Karthikai designs sold in 2020 to Palmera and build my way up as the business grows. However, due to unexpected delays and COVID-19, we were only able to get one batch of blankets out the door rather than the (at least) two I was hoping for. The amount for 10% of the proceeds just wasn't quite what I wanted to give as a donation. Instead, I just topped up and donated $250 to one of Palmera's projects just this past December.
I know that $250 may not seem like most to some but I am proud of what we were able to contribute as a small business, within our first year, in a global pandemic, from only one batch of blankets/art prints. We look forward to contributing to other projects by Palmera and hope to have our audience provide some input/feedback and help us make our choice for our next donation! Please do check out Palmera Projects and the amazing initiatives that they are a part of!
Here is a video that was put together by their team that highlights some of the work they’ve been doing on the ground level:
Video Source: Palmera