students visiting Selyn


This week, the Selyn Community got visitors from Sweden! Two students named Emma and Julia studying Environmental Science at the University of Linköping. 


Emma and Julia are in Sri Lanka to do research for their bachelor thesis with the mission to investigate “fair trade’s impact on empowerment and sustainable development”. Sponsored by SIDA through a Minor Field Study they are visiting various fair trade organisations in both Sri Lanka and India where they are conducting interviews. 


Through the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) website Emma and Julia found their way to Selyn, Sri Lanka’s only fair trade guaranteed Handloom Company. To assist them in their research we showed them around the whole Selyn fair trade production from the Dye Plant to the finished products at the Toy Factory. The girls did really appreciate being able to fallow the whole production process, because from previous experiences they have not been permitted to see the dyeing process due to unstated reasons. 


Here emma is getting a thorough explanation about what happens with the disposal from the dyeing. 


Here the girls are visiting the children at the kinder garden next to the weaving workshop, and today was our lucky day because the children were in such a good mood that they sang a song for us and were extra brave and introduced themselves in English. 
I just had to include this picture of the artisan weaving a colourful Saree. 
On the way the girls got the opportunity to interview three of the artisans at one of the weaving workshops at Selyn and later they interviewed one in the management. It was thrilling to spend the day with Emma and Julia and it was very interesting to listen to their group interview with three of the artisans. The women do not speak English so therefore an interpreter translated from Sinhala to English, but this was easier said then done. 

There was a lot that got lost in the translation because of different of reasons. Asking question that made sense from the reseachers point of view were sometimes hard for the women to comprehend or to speak up about. Moreover, it happened that the interpreter did not fully understand the question or answered question directly instead of translating the answers of the women ect. In the end it was a very complex situation and to understand the gap in knowledge between the interviewers, interviewees and the interpreter the necessary tool would have been to speak and understand Sinhala. On the other hand, it is unexpected situations like these that makes research even more interesting and fruitful, if a researcher knew the answers to his/hers questions from the beginning then research would not be very interesting nor fulfilling.  

After the interviews it was time for lunch and a couple of women at the workshop had cooked rice and curry for us. Delicious! and without forks and knifes we eat with our right-hand which most Sri Lankan people prefers to do. 
The next interview was at the Toy Factory with one in the management. 
Thank you so much girls!! It was really fun to have you here in Kurunegala and I personally enjoyed the day I got to spend with you! You know that you are allways welcome back at any time! 

Good luck with your research! Looking forward to read your conclusions when you are finished! :D 


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