Two years ago I wrote about Women’s Development Centre, an organisation that grew out of the Scot’s Kirk in Kandy, Sri Lanka. WDC’s areas of work include work with commercial sex workers who were vulnerable to HIV, rehabilitation of disabled young people but is best known for its work with victims of sexual violence(see the article here)
Nine years ago, WDC started the social enterprise called ‘Sthree’, which means ‘woman’ in Sinhala and Tamil languages. This women’s initiative provides a market for Sri Lankan women and differently-abled entrepreneurs to sell their hand-made products.
The latest development is the Sthree Cafe. A Canadian travel company has underwritten the costs for developing the back of the building and fitting out a kitchen. The tables and chairs were all made at the WDC vocational training centre and the cooking and serving is all done by women from WDC’s programmes.
The food is all grown locally, there is minimal use of plastic and maximum use of recycling and composting.
Initially almost all the customers are people on the travel company’s tours. They can come for a delicious breakfast, morning and afternoon snacks or a light lunch. In time Sashi Stephens, WDC Director, hopes the cafe will be fully open the public.
Already the cafe is drawing more customers into the original craft shop.
If you are in Kandy, try to visit Sthree – and I can recommend the Hopper Combo breakfast!