CREATE AN EMPOWERED, EQUITABLE SOCIETY WHERE POVERTY DOES NOT EXIST
The story of Berendina begins at a small village named Garagoda in Yatiyantota, situated 75 kilometres away from the Capital City of Colombo. Mrs. Berendina Borst a well-known philanthropist from the Netherlands, visited Sri Lanka for the first time in 1982, where she saw most of the people were living below the poverty line. Her friend in Sri Lanka Mrs. Eva Mudalige, who was a teacher by profession and a committed social worker was also living in Garagoda. Both of them became partners in social work and wanted the poor community of Garagoda to come out of poverty.
Mrs. Borst created a Trust named ‘Berendina Stichting’ in 1987 to continue her social service activities. She appointed her banker, Mr. Bas Timmermans as the Chairman and Prof. A. H. M. Santen and Mr. John Smit as Directors. That same year, Berendina Stichting started working in Yatiyantota, continuing to help the poor families in Garagoda. This village received support to construct drinking water facilities and toilets and promoting health through nutrition and healthcare programmes, particularly for children, the elderly, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Berendina also built and repaired their homes.
Berendina Stichting was initiated in 1987 by the late Ms. Berendina Borst and is located in Amstelveen, Netherlands. Berendina Stichting is the main donor and sponsor of Berendina Development Services (BDS) and Berendina Micro Investment Company Limited (BMIC). The previous organizations, namely Berendina Microfinance Institute (Gte) Limited (BMI) and Berendina Employment Centre (BEC), were also funded by Berendina Stichting in the past.
Berendina Stichting was headed by the late Mr. Timmermans from 1987 to 2003. From 2003 to 2013, it was headed by Mr. Hein Princen, former Ambassador of the Netherlands to Sri Lanka. From 2013 to 2015, it was headed by the late Mr. Leenstra until his demise. Mr. Ab Schols served as the Chairman until the end of December 2015.
Currently, Mr. Jos van Aggelen is the Chairman of Berendina Stichting. The current Directors include Ms. Ruth Dorotha van Andel, Mr. Jan Steven Cloeck Faber, Mr. Rene Darsono Idzenga, and Ms. Louise Anten.
In 1992, Berendina Stichting appointed Mr. Dulan de Silva as the lead consultant, along with Mr. Anura Athapattu and Mr. Jagath Godakanda as other consultants of Berendina Stichting, after which the Garagoda Development Project was started and the first office of Berendina was established. In 1997, Berendina Stichting signed an MOU with the Ministry of Policy Planning of the Government of Sri Lanka and became a recognized International NGO working in Sri Lanka.
In 2005, the formation of Sri Lankan organisations commenced. Berendina Development Services (Guarantee) Limited, well known as BDS, was established in 2005. In 2007, Berendina Microfinance Institute (Guarantee) Limited. (BMI), was formed. Berendina Micro Investments Company Limited (BMIC) was formed in 2014, to support the expansion of the microfinance work of BMI and all microfinance activities were completely transferred to BMIC in 2017. In 2015, Berendina Employment Center (Guarantee) Limited (BEC), was established and in 2019 it was amalgamated with Berendina Development Services (Guarantee) Limited under the new strategic plan. BDS is a NGO registered with the NGO Secretariat of Sri Lanka. In 2019, Berendina Micro Investments Company Ltd (BMIC) became the first Micro Finance institution to receive the license from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.