As part of our commitment to sustainable tourism and giving the local community a stake in Living Heritage Koslanda’s success, we have always strived to ensure that the women of the local village are also included in this equation. We have worked hard to ensure that as part of our employment practices, that local women are an integral part of our future.
Here in Sri Lanka it’s still very unusual to find village women working in hospitality, we are proud that 6 of our 16 staff are female – this in an industry and country which is typically and overwhelmingly a male dominated domain. So we’d like to introduce you to the wonderful women who make our guests so welcome, and we want to celebrate their work, dedication and commitment to breaking down barriers
Ariyawathie works in our kitchen – in 1988 when she lost her husband, she had to start work to support her 5 children. For years she sold homemade rice and curry at a road side stall, which did not provide enough of an income to comfortably support her family. In 2015 she was employed at Koslanda, and her marvellous grasp of Sri Lankan cuisine, means she is now an integral part of our kitchen team, providing delicious food for our guests, and a better future for herself and her family.
Like so many women in Sri Lanka many of our female staff started their working lives as housemaids and domestic staff. Daya, Kusum and Nandani all worked in the Middle East, trying to earn enough money to support families back in Sri Lanka, often separated from their villages and families for long periods of time, often working under very difficult circumstances. Whilst their individual stories differ, the reality on returning to Sri Lanka was similar – they all had families who struggled to make ends meet. Between them all they have special stories of overcoming hardships and are so dedicated in making sure our guests are so warmly welcomed and looked after.
Our youngest female employee is Udani – at just 24 she is a dynamic and smart young woman from Koslanda village, who worked for many years helping at the local school, teaching Maths and English. In 2015 she joined Koslanda as an accounts executive and now deals with all the reservations. Her father also works for Koslanda as a gardener so it’s inspiring to see how we can help many generations with in the village benefit from a steady and decent income, as well as fair working practices.
It may seem a small thing to many of you, but for a woman in the villages to help financially support a family is still a rare thing in Sri Lanka, and their example will undoubtedly help inspire other women to take a step forward and seek employment. Thus giving them financial independence and help their children gain a better education and future.