Sthree Craft Shop and Café
Kandy, Sri Lanka
The Women’s Development Centre 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 (WUSC). 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.
With the support of Planeterra, a catalyst grant has been provided to the Women’s Development Centre 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 Women’s Development Centre does across Sri Lanka.
Sthree Craft Shop and Café provides a platform for women to gain financial stability. This partnership increased market access for Sthree’s artisans ten-fold, and increased cash flow for the social enterprise. 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.