Sthree Craft Shop and Café

Kandy, Sri Lanka


Sthree Craft Shop and Café provides a platform for women to gain financial stability. This partnership increased cash flow for the social enterprise by over 400% in the first year alone, allowing them to expand their network of artisans supported through the shop. The tourism program provides increased livelihood opportunities for women and at-risk youth, while also acting as a base funding for the Women’s Development Centre’s shelter for abused women. Differently-abled youth are trained as servers for the program, while women are trained as chefs. The cafe business established by Planeterra became profitable in the first year it was established. 5% of the profits are allocated to support running costs for WDC’s shelter for women.

people earning an income
community members indirectly benefitting
Sthree Craft Shop and Café - Planeterra

Critical Need

The Women’s Development Centre (WDC) in Kandy, Sri Lanka has been working to create equal opportunities for women since 1986. This registered nonprofit organization runs programs to combat violence against women and empower them as equal members of society, with one of their programs, Sthree, being a handicraft shop for women entrepreneurs. Sthree was established in 2007 as a handicraft shop with the support of the World University Service of Canada. Sthree’s aim is to create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers. Since its establishment, Sthree has struggled to make the business a source of sustainable income for their programs and the entrepreneurs they serve.

Our Involvement

With the support of Planeterra, a catalyst grant was provided to WDC to revamp the craft shop and outfit a working kitchen in the space. A dining area was established to host travellers, creating a steady stream of income and customers at the Sthree Craft Shop and Café.

Women and youth serve up breakfast, lunch and high tea to travellers, as they learn more about the amazing work that the WDC does across Sri Lanka. Planeterra provided support to the team on experience development and business administration to support the development of a newly profitable enterprise.