Isuru: The face of Rural BPO business in Sri Lanka

Posted on January 28, 2009  /  1 Comments


When I first met Isuru Seneviratne in late 90s (in cyberspace) he was a twelve year old student. Life was not always sympathetic to this eldest of a family of three. Flickr still has a photo showing young Isuru and his sister assisting their parents in poultry. His father was a famer – then the only breadwinner of the family. Most farmers do not have a fixed income. Isuru’s father made less than USD 75 per month on average, but in some months nothing. Growing up in a village surrounded by thick jungle, 40 km to nearest town, and has never seen a telephone, it looked like Isuru had his fate already written. One way avoid following parents’ footsteps to agriculture was joining security forces. There is a thirty year old ongoing war in Sri Lanka and most village boys find forces attractive. Isuru did neither.

Ten years later, Isuru leads the first rural BPO in the island. It has eleven seats and expanding fast. The barrier to expansion is the difficulty in finding staff and training and not the lack of jobs (They have enough) Today Isuru and his sister (an operator) together earn USD 300 fixed monthly income. Not comparable with the salaries of the urban call center agents, but with low cost of it is far more than it sounds. In addition to supporting his younger brother’s education, Isuru also has bought a motor bicycle, a dream his father could never make true. At 22 years, he is also the bread winner of the family.

Download the full article at i4d.

1 Comment

  1. Interesting article. It’s great to know these kinds of BPO’s running operations outside the country’s main business district. This could be beneficial for the company considering lower provincial labor rate and at the same time, helping livelihood and income revenue for the rural manpower. I’m an employee for TryBPO, an outsourcing company operating here in Davao City, Philippines, situated in the southern portion of the archipelago and companies like ours really helped with the business development of our city and we’re now one of the main outsourcing hubs in the country!