Sandie Tillotson and Dr. Paul Cox Celebrate Nu Skin’s 20 Years of Giving in Sri Lanka
August 08, 2016
Twenty years ago, the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation partnered with the non-profit organization, Seacology to improve the lives of children and their families in island communities, and at the same time, help protect fragile island environments. Today, Seacology has completed more than 250 projects in 55 countries and has helped to protect more than a million acres of some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems. The partnership recently culminated in Seacology’s largest project yet – the Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project. “It was a powerful experience to work alongside the wonderful people in Sri Lanka in a project that has both environmental and economic impact,” said Sandie Tillotson, Nu Skin Founder. “We worked together to plant and protect mangroves that are extremely important to sustaining the local ecosystem and empowered women with microloans and business training that would help them support their families and contribute to their local economy.”
With the support of this project, Sri Lanka will be the world’s first nation to comprehensively protect all of its mangrove forests, which will provide a cleaner atmosphere and protection from the storms surges and rising sea levels. This will be accomplished by offering training and microloans to Sri Lankan women to start sustainable businesses as an alternative income to cutting down mangroves. Many microloans have been donated by Nu Skin sales leaders in Europe. Women who receive the microloans also attend three-day training sessions on mangrove conservation, business management and livelihood development. Ultimately, they will be better able to provide for their families and improve the future economic opportunities for their children.
“By offering training and funding to develop alternatives to cutting mangroves, the project’s livelihood program is alleviating poverty as well as protecting mangroves,” said Duane Silverstein, Seacology’s executive director. “It’s a win-win situation.”
Another key part of the project is the opening of the Seacology-Sudeesa Mangrove Museum. This unique museum, which was dedicated by the president of Sri Lanka, will aid in educating natives and other visitors about the importance of the ecological and economic impact of the mangroves and will serve as a popular field trip destination for local schools.
The conservation project has widespread environmental and economic benefits for Sri Lanka. Seacology aims to preserve 21 thousand acres of mangrove forests and replant 9,600 additional acres; as well as provide training for 15,000 low-income families in the 1,500 communities located adjacent to Sri Lanka’s mangrove forests.
To learn more about the Sri Lanka Mangrove project, check out the video below.