The Selyn Socio-Economic Development Foundation, known also as the “Selyn Foundation”, is a philanthropic initiative created in 2009 by Sandra Wanduragala, founder of Selyn as yet another way to empower Sri Lankan women by means of education including sexuality education, skills development and financial literacy.
A key feature of the foundation is a revolving fund which means that the work of the foundation is self-financed and therefore sustainable.
In 1991, Sandra Wanduragala founded Selyn Exports (Pvt.) Ltd.. Selyn is Sri Lanka’s only Fair Trade certified handloom company that engages the traditional Sri Lankan community of handloom weavers in producing handloom-based products.
How it began
Selyn’s work began with fifteen women in the village of Wanduragala near Kurunegala in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. Their vision was clear – to grow as a business based on Fair Trade principles, in order to retain market leadership while uplifting the living standards of rural women and men by providing them with sustainable employment and securing their income. Today, Selyn has over 1,000 beneficiaries seasonally.
While appreciating donor funding and donations, in order to ensure sustainability, Selyn contributes 1% of its annual export turnover into a revolving fund set up within the foundation. This fund was initial set up by the founder and now various projects within Selyn are conducted in order to raise funds for the work of the foundation.