Artisan Stories

Mr. Wijeratne

In the village of Madampella nestled in the area of Divulapitiya in the Gampaha district lives a community of weavers, who has traditionally been working on hand loom textiles.
Over the years and from one generation to another their expertise was passed on however their development and progress was affected by policy change by each succeeding government/ political system and as a result the markets.

Wijeratne 85 years of age lives within this beautiful village surrounded by paddy fields and lush greenery. Any given day if you stop to take in all its natural beauty you are bound to also hear the beat of the “tuk ,tok” sound of the handloom machine at work.
Our senior weaver Wijeratne has been involved in weaving since his early teens , and so has his family of 5 brothers and sisters.
His wife of 50+ years,Seelawathi was also a clever weaver and together they built a small business . They brought up their family through these earnings till things changed and they were forced to close. However Wijeratne himself continued and later in life started working with IC to produce very special products of exceptional quality. Of his children his son has moved on to work in the forces, while his two daughters have adopted weaving as their career and explores the new techniques and challenges with great enthusiasm.

Wijeratne , has worked on many different products through his 10 year career with IC, ranging from sarees, shawls, throws and lately the Tea Towels. His work has always been of superior quality and not a thread was ever out of place . However as he developed some medical issues he cannot pursue the more intricate work. With much determination he keeps working , not so much for need of money at this stage but to be of use and to stay occupied.
He is an exceptional human being , an ardent supporter of handloom and an inspiration to the young

Ms. Patrina

Patrina has always been a hardworking young employee who strives to do her best to accomplish her duties. She's being working with our knit wear project since 2011 and it gives us immense satisfaction to see her growing into a strong and independent individual from the helpless girl she was 5 years ago

Her story is very heart breaking to all of us who knows about her. Patrina's parents, who were originally from Jaffna, had to move temporarily to Mallavi, a small district in mullaitivu, due to the war which broke outrageously during the 90s. They had returned to Jaffna once the situation had calmed, but unfortunately or fortunately the family has had to move permanently back to Mallavi 5 years later in 1995. Patrina was then born here in the same year followed by a sibling a few years younger to her.

Her father's been a carpenter and mother a house wife, looking after the two children even amidst the utter rough environment. But tragedy didn't fail to find her family. Her mother getting caught to a shell bomb and her younger brother's death due to the outraging war made her life miserable. She was courageous enough to school until A/levels but due to financial hardships of her family, she had nothing but to seek a job to make a living. Since then she has been trained by us and has been involved in our many projects.

Patrina is an achiever. She is ever so content with her work and is an inspiration to all around her.

Ms. Suologini

This is a story of a woman with 2 kids in Mallavi, Suologini who’s struggling to live her regular life, as her husband was lost for a long time due to war and from that time onward she’s been fighting to bring up her 2 Kids(girls) named, A. Asojini – 7years old and Nilankshija – 4years old.

We were helping her out in whichever possible way from the time we started this Island Craft project (i.e. started in the 1st quarter of 2011) with AOD’s collaboration Design for Sustainable Development Foundation and with this we managed to bring a few people to see the brighter side of theirs lives and see new things and to make them believe that they are also humans with a lot of talents and creativity.

As we believed, this thing we started made us to see their happy faces and adorable moments of their life and etc.

The best way we came up to solve a certain amount of the struggle she was going through was by helping her out to initiate a chicken farm with 50 chicks and a small coop.

We will always be there to help our artisans and support in all possible ways.