Testimonio / Bandara Menike

38 km away from Selyn’s central office in Kurunegala is Kumbukgette, a town famous for its abundance of reed and bamboo, basic materials for baskets, boxes, and other decorative objects. Making these items is an ecological craft that, together with rice production, supports the income of the people of the area, among them Bandara Menike, a current worker at Selyn.
Even so, these traditional activities are not enough for families, which is why the majority of the youth have abandoned the towns to move to the city and/or join the army. Facing this situation, Selyn launched a new line of products that combine hand-woven fabric and bamboo to augment the income of the people of Kumbukgette.
Today Bander Menike is the owner of a small union of subcontractors that Selyn started. Together with her husband, her three children, and some neighbors, she has put herself in charge of supplying bamboo to the weaving center of Selyn. In just a few years her life has changed radically; she has gone from a craftswoman to a businesswoman that provides work and income to herself and her neighbors. About this life change she says, smiling, “I’m not an ordinary woman anymore.”

Fotografías: SETEM

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