Women Biz Leaders of SAARC Convene in Colombo to initiate social entrepreneurship across borders

30th November 2017: Women business leaders from SAARC Countries who form the executive committee of SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) will gather in Colombo this weekend to deliberate and map out strategies towards enterprise development across borders. With social entrepreneurship as the main agenda, the forum will carve out specific areas where women across the expanse could collaborate in income generating activities, seamlessly, avoiding unnecessary trade barriers and cross border divides.

Having identified that menstrual sanitation among rural women across the stretch of the SAARC region is a vital necessity; SCWEC will undertake an initiative that will re-define feminine hygiene. Determined that every woman in the SAARC region should have access to clean, affordable and quality, sanitary products, SCWEC has identified the need to encourage women to produce, promote and distribute bio-degradable sanitary napkins. Currently an alarmingly large number of women are still using cloth, hay, sand and unhygienic alternatives which affect their ability to carry on daily activities, much less to be involved in income generating activities.

“Helping women to launch their own businesses, as well as manufacturing and distributing affordable menstrual pads is a fundamental priority to help prevent women from missing work due to lack of access to hygienic sanitary products” explained Rifa Musthapha. “Through this initiative we hope to not only provide the necessary skills but also enable women to help themselves in finding financial independence for improved livelihoods through a self-sustaining enterprise”.

“Additionally, it imparts entrepreneurial and business skills training to village-level entrepreneurs to help them enforce and sustain livelihood opportunities” said Musthapha. Manufacturing units will be introduced across the countries, owned by women who will employ needy women from surrounding communities. "The biggest impact of this social enterprise will be the number of women who will be employed and empowered through better quality of life. We believe that every woman has the right to manage her menstruation with confidence and dignity” noted Musthapha.

SCWEC Sanitary Napkin Awareness

Left to right (Standing):
Samitha Perera- WCIC Board Member
Nafisa Thahirally- WCIC Board Member
Ramani Ponnambalam- WCIC Board Member
Janaki Perera -WCIC Board Member
Illanga Karunarathne-WCIC Board Member
Ashanthi Fernando-WCIC Board Member
Indrani Fernando-SCWEC EC member-Sri Lanka
Renuka Fernando-SCWEC EC member-Sri Lanka
Renuka Senanayake-Board Member WCIC
Ayanthii Gurusinghe -SCWEC EC member-Sri Lanka
Shirley Jayewardene-SCWEC EC member-Sri Lanka
Jazayar Hassendeen-SCWEC EC member-Sri Lanka
Alisha Shrestha-SCWEC EC member- Nepal
Prabha Pradhan-SCWEC EC member - Nepal
Shova Gyawali- SCWEC EC member- Nepal
  Left to right (Seated):
Aminath Vileeniya-SCWEC EC member-Maldives
Selima Ahmad-SCWEC Vice Chairperson-Bangladesh
Rifa Musthapha-SCWEC Chairperson
Rita Bhandary- SCWEC Vice Chairperson- Nepal
Anuja Narain -SCWEC EC member India
Chathuri Ranasinghe-SCWEC Vice Chairperson-Sri lanka

Meeting with Prof.Maithree Wickramasinghe

Left to right (Standing):
Shova Gyawali - SCWEC EC member - Nepal
Jazayar Hassendeen-SCWEC EC member - Sri Lanka
Rita Bhandary - SCWEC Vice Chairperson - Nepal
Renuka Fernando - SCWEC EC member - Sri Lanka
Prabha Pradhan - SCWEC EC member - Nepal
Alisha Shrestha - SCWEC EC member - Nepal
Aminath Vileeniya - SCWEC EC member - Maldives
Shirley Jayewardene - SCWEC EC member - Sri Lanka
Anuja Narain - SCWEC EC member India
Indrani Fernando - SCWEC EC member - Sri Lanka
  Left to right (Seated):
Chathuri Ranasinghe - SCWEC Vice Chairperson - Sri lankaAminath
Selima Ahmad - SCWEC Vice Chairperson - Bangladesh
Prof.Maithree Wickramasinghe
Rifa Musthapha - SCWEC Chairperson
Amna Munawwar Awan - President of COPAIR