Banusha in Sri Lanka

Banusha Mahendren

My name is Banusha Mahendren and I have been granted the incredible privilege of completing my 10 month IDS Co-op placement with WUSC (World University Services Canada) in Kandy, Sri Lanka. I will be working with one of WUSC’s local partner’s, the Women’s Development Centre (WDC), as a Gender Inclusion Officer. The mission of the Women’s Development Centre is to facilitate and encourage an environment for women and children, persons with special needs, youth and other vulnerable groups to achieve positive changes in their lives by resolving or minimizing their problems through active participation in decision making within the socioeconomic process. Sthree, a not-for-profit social responsible store, acts as a commercial space that allows women entrepreneurs/producers to showcase and sell their handicraft products. In my role, I will be involved in, developing case studies and success stories highlighting the economic impact of Sthree on WDC’s members as well as in conducting research on the impact of women’s home-based income on mitigation of vulnerability to Gender-Based Violence. I will also be exploring linkages of Sthree in the tourism sector and supporting WDC in the preparation of donor reports and proposals. I am excited to be taking on a role that has so many diverse aspects to it! Over the course of these ten months, I look forward to gaining a better understanding of existing gender disparities, various cultural barriers facing women and the ways in which existing organizations and communities are tackling these issues. In terms of the research I am required to conduct for my undergraduate thesis paper, I am currently interested in issues relating to post-war development, internal displacement, mental health and the role of remittances in assisting marginalized women and children. These ideas, however, may change based on realities I am confronted with on the ground. Either way, I look forward to the learning, relationships, and growth that lay ahead of me. See you in ten months!