Weaving livelihoods together!

“When I first entered the market, I realized that a lot of other businesses sold their cane products at lower prices than I did and that worried me. However, today my products have a very high demand because unlike other products, they are durable and they last long”. 

At present, Sashikala Cane Works supplies cane products of high quality to many different buyers in Colombo, meeting high levels of demand with versatility and efficiency. This enterprise is not just a business. It is a foundation for rural Sri Lankan women to realize their potential and enhance their skills and capabilities, giving them the courage and the opportunity to contribute to the country’s economy.

Hailing from a small town named Senapathiya in the Madagama division of the Monaragala district is A.H. Gnanawathi, an entrepreneur who helps uplift the lives of others from her village. Combining her skill for creating cane products and the entrepreneurial knowledge she had gathered, Gnanawathi created her business ‘Sashikala Cane Works’ using natural products that are abundant in Sri Lanka. “I worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to reach these heights. I am proud of what I have achieved and I know I have made my children and family proud”

As she decided to use her business as a platform to help the other women in her village, Sashikala Cane Works which was once carried out by Gnanawathi alone, today employs 60 other women who have undergone a 10-year training process free of charge. The cane work products which are contributed to the business by each of these women are collected from their homes and sent to Colombo for selling. Each of the 60 employees of this business now earn between 5,000 and 40,000 rupees at the end of each month. “I am very happy that I am able to create these opportunities for the other women to help them earn money for their families and give them the training to run a home-based business”

The cane products offered by Sashikala Cane Works are of high quality and are made according to health guidelines, using natural products and raw materials obtained from forests. No entrepreneur is a stranger to the challenges of entering and existing in the market. Gnanawathi too experienced challenges when entering the market and competing against other enterprises.

I never had the opportunity to learn English but after the coaching from the Enterprise project, I now even have a Facebook account which I operate with help from my children.
FB page: Shashikala Wewal Banda Nishpadakayo
https://www.facebook.com/Shashikala-wewal-Banda-Nishpadakayo-105916920969730)

As an entrepreneur based in Monaragala and supplying to Colombo, Gnanawathi faced the burden of storing her products until they are purchased. In order to do so, she was in dire need of a showroom for her enterprise. “At the time, I was involved with many other organizations that taught me a lot and gave me a lot of knowledge regarding entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, none of those organizations were capable of providing the financial resources that I needed to build a showroom. To my great fortune, the Enterprise grant was sufficient to build a spacious showroom that I needed for my business.”