Chairman, Selyn Sri Lanka
Sandra Wanduragala is the founder of Selyn Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’s only guaranteed fair trade producer of handlooms.
A great example of successful social entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka, Selyn has been in operation 26 years and has a strong reputation both locally and internationally as a premier ethical brand.
Sandra started the business with 15 women working out of her home, with the aim of providing sustainable livelihoods to rural women and men in her home province of Kurunegala. Despite beginning against the backdrop of armed civil conflict and the associated challenges that brought, her social enterprise has grown to over 1,000 members today and now supplies to Fair Trade and commercial customers all over the world. There are also six successful retail outlets in Sri Lanka, which sell toys, fashion, fashion accessories, home goods and children’s accessories. Selyn also recently launched its first sub-brand, Sthir by Selyn, an ethical fashion collective.
Sandra is an attorney-at-law and continues to work as a property lawyer in addition to her entrepreneurial ventures. She is also Cofounder and chairman of Royal International Schools which provides diverse English-taught curriculums to students in Kurunegala.
Sandra has received numerous awards in Sri Lanka and internationally, including: Presidential Export Award 2014, 2015 – Best Exporter, SME, Gold Award; Asia Pacific’s Most Prestigious Award for Entrepreneur 2013 – APEA International Award; and Inspirational SME Award People category 2013, CBI - The Netherlands-International Award.
“Our vision is to expand our social business model based on the principles of fair trade in order to retain our market leadership, while uplifting the living standards of rural women and men, by providing them with sustainable employment and livelihoods.”