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Hela Clothing empowers employees through ‘Hela Diriliya’ initiative

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Hela Diriliya was envisioned with the purpose of economically empowering the Company’s workforce and their families, by equipping them with adequate resources and technical know-how. The project hones the entrepreneurial mindset within employees, providing them with the knowledge to build a business from scratch, develop business models and maintain their finances, while ensuring product quality and developing a platform for them to sell their products of choice.

The initiative also helps employees develop specific vocational skills, further enabling them to excel in jobs ranging from catering to needle work, dress making and pottery, among others.

Hela has set up physical marketplaces at their plants in the form of the ‘Diriliya Pola’, thereby offering employees the opportunity to sell their items. With over 140 team members currently enrolled across Hela’s 7 manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka, the project’s overall aim is to enhance the livelihoods of employees and their families, elevating their social status, while combatting the negative economic impact of the pandemic. After closely monitoring the impact of the local project, Hela plans to launch the same initiative at its African manufacturing facilities in November 2021 as the next-step to extend their value-creation efforts to an international level.

Hela Diriliya is indicative of the Company’s ‘humanity-first’ approach and is one of many initiatives employed by Hela to engage and empower employees. Another example is the Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (PACE) programme which develops employees’ financial and legal literacy, enhances their ability to communicate and educates employees on how to best maintain their personal hygiene and reproductive health. The programme impacts a large cross-section of Hela’s employee-base and the company became the first to rollout the programme in a factory environment in Ethiopia. Hela is also in the process of expanding the programme to Kenya where they hope to have 180 PACE graduates by the end of this financial year. Ultimately, Hela aims to have 5,690 PACE graduates by the end of 2023.

The company has worked to further alleviate the impact of the pandemic by ensuring employees did not face pay-cuts, while senior management had their pay deferred temporarily. Similarly, Hela ensured that bonuses were paid out to all employees as a reward for their outstanding performance during 2020/2021.

Commenting on Hela Clothing’s numerous social empowerment initiatives, Chief People Officer, Nadeesha Wijesingha, stated, “Hela is a performance driven company that thrives on a collaborative culture. As a flexible, agile, equal-opportunity employer, we have always felt the importance of empowering our diverse workforce through projects that ultimately enhance their skillsets, financial standing and overall livelihoods in a holistic way. All these initiatives tie back to our foundation as a social capital company and are integral in helping create a sustainable future for all.”

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