Hospitality and taste of Vanni for A9 travellers


Hospitality and Taste of Vanni Soil

Entrepreneurial members of the Mankulam Women Rural Development Society have opened a travellers’ rest stop with the aim of providing quality food, hygienic toilet facilities and one stop shop for tourist’ to buy native products. With the opening of the rest stop, A9 travellers have the opportunity to refresh with the hospitality and taste of the Vanni.

The travellers’ rest stop is equipped to provide fresh juice and hot drinks (tea and coffee) using fresh fruits and milk from the area; to serve traditional food with healthy ingredients and recipes from the Vanni region; clean toilets separated for male and female as well as handicapped accessible; a handicraft sales centre selling various handicraft items made from palmyrah, coconut shell, etc. and local products such as honey, dry fish, pickles, fruits, pulses and other local products. Furthermore, travellers have the opportunity to witness and experience Artisans craftsmanship in making handicraft on the spot and buy from them.

The Mankulam Women’s Rural Development Society (MWRDS) was originally established in 1984. Living in one of the worst conflict-affected areas, the women were often caught in the midst of battle, lost many family members and were displaced several times. In 2014, with the interest of providing a durable livelihood solution and new lease of life to the members of the community including widows, the MWRDS founded the Vanni Resource Self Development Organization Guaranteed Ltd. (VaReSDO Gte. Ltd.).

VaReSDO Gte. Ltd. established the travellers’ rest stop and handicraft sale centre in Mankulam. This rest stop is situated about one km from the Mankulam junction towards Kilinochchi, along the A9 highway between the railway track and the highway
The establishment of the rest stop was financially supported by USAID through Vega/BIZ+ program, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and the Palmyra Development Board. Technical support was provided by the International Non-Governmental Organization Swiss Labour Assistance (SAH).

The rest stop will be a marketing centre and increase the income opportunities for the community. Around 50 women benefit directly while another 30 or more community members engaged in agriculture or handicraft benefit from a higher demand for their products and a new market place.  The official opening event was held on 22 June at 3 p.m.

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