Api Happi Backpack

Artisan Organization: Api Happi

Country: Sri Lanka

Aparna Samarankoon believes income and innovation equal independence. She creates empowerment by putting traditional textiles to imaginative use. In doing so, she has managed to save a rich piece of Sri Lankan history from certain extinction.

Aparna loves making old things new. As a teenager, she turned worn-out jeans into dresses. And today, she works with weavers in the town of Kegalle.

With spotty electricity, human-powered hand weaving is an essential income source for rural-dwelling Sri Lankan women. “But empowerment is not solely about money,” says Aparna, “Empowerment is about the freedom to think, speak and innovate. And all of that starts with a job.”