About Us


Thirty years of civil war and conflict left many Sri Lankan rural communities - particularly in the north and east - with poor job prospects. Women left widowed by the war, and their children, were particularly vulnerable. 

In 2009, at the end of the war, Academy of Design (AOD) began working in the North to help Palmyra palm weavers improve the quality of their craft and to provide them with marketing opportunities. In July 2011, AOD partnered with the United Methodist Committee on Relief to support a weaving community in Mullaitivu to upgrade their skills, improve the design of their products and find buyers.

 Recognizing the importance of its unique design-led approach to development, AOD created DFSD in August 2011 to expand its support for Sri Lankan artisans.

Today DFSD partners designers with artisan communities across Sri Lanka to help create contemporary textile and craft products with a uniquely Sri Lankan aesthetic.  DFSD works with a range of partners to make a difference through design in other ways such as developing new uses for traditional materials. Revitalizing old craft skills and promoting the use of sustainable dyeing techniques.


Our Vision

To make a difference through design for Sri Lankan artisan.

Our Mission 

To use design and innovation to help foster a sustainable and ethical craft and handmade textile industry in Sri Lanka that uplifts artisans, empowers women, nurtures heritage skills and protects the environment.

Our Values 

Our team believes in the role design, innovation and creativity can play in improving our communities and our environment. We are committed to a sustainable future.
Our team is dedicated to promoting Sri Lanka’s heritage skills and cultural assets.
Our team believes in walking the talk: our talk is backed up with action and our focus is on positive outcomes.
Our team acts with honesty, integrity and passion. We treat each other, our partners and our supporters with respect, and we recognize the importance of diversity. We are proud of what we do.