Sunethra from Kathaluwa has expertly woven indikola, and created magic using vatakeiyya and hana for over 25 years. Her 15 year old son has witnessed his mother not only cheerfully create art using sustainable materials, but also chirpily teach her craft to the next generation of artisans. She employs 10 other people, following in her footsteps.
When she isn't entrepreneurial, she relaxes by planting up a storm in her enchanting garden, where she finds her inspiration. Hoper has been privileged to support Sunethra from Kathaluwa in her journey, and you can too!
Her first steps
Her first step towards the transformation to becoming the expert artisan that she is today began in 1998 when she joined the training centre of the National Crafts Council in Habaraduwa. After a year of training, she joined a team of crafts people there. The products they made are sold at Sipnara, and Laksala which are state run gift shops/boutiques which contribute towards her monthly household income.
In 2006, she ventured out to become a trainer herself, and now she passes on the secrets of her craft to the next generation on how to weave this magic and oversee the production of items. At the centre, she employs 10 other women and supports her community by doing her part to create jobs in the community.
Impacts of the Pandemic
At the moment Sunethra also runs her own private small scale enterprise, where she makes crafts with a team of ladies. The pandemic impact has been harsh, where the products have been impacted. Even her taxi driver husband who relied on tourism no longer brought in a monthly income, and the loans they already had created an extra burden on the family.
Hope for the Future
Sunethra believes her biggest challenge is peoples’ obsession with plastic, and this impacts the sales of her products which are sustainable alternatives to plastics. A more sustainable planet, where green conscious consumers exist will ensure her products also have a market.
Her hope for the future is that her son will join her enterprise. His education was disrupted due to the fact that they could not afford a phone so he had to go to his friends houses to attend online classes, which did not happen regularly.
She wants to join hands with her son, so he too has a sustainable future, and build her crafts enterprise better prepared for a post-pandemic world.
HOPEFULLY we can help her there.
Support her and her community is in your hands, see her work here or at our space in Ahangama
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