Grant Winner - Ahanghama Coliving (Pvt) Ltd
About the Business
Located in Ahangama, Sri Lanka, Ahangama Coliving (Pvt) Ltd provides a space for digital nomads and artists to live, work and enjoy life in the beautiful southern coast of the island. Since the inception of the business, Ahangama Coliving has established relationships with the community and created opportunities for them to benefit from tourism as well. This has been done through promoting interaction between visitors and locals, and increasing livelihood opportunities for vulnerable women in the community.
Ahangama Coliving has incorporated sustainability into its operations through a number of initiatives. They have collaborated with organizations like Aquadot to provide free water to guests, in order to avoid use of plastic bottles. The property structure has been built using sustainable means, waste is bio composted, organic fruits are grown in the garden, and community engagement efforts, such as cooking classes, fishing with locals are organised for guests. The business has also begun to collaborate with a local school to support students from under privileged backgrounds.
Introducing Sustainable Practices and Uplifting the Community
The grant offered by the Tourism Alliance and Good Life X will allow Ahangama Coliving to purchase two containers, which will be transformed into a tastefully designed, low-cost gallery, gift shop and café. The team believes that this will provide the local community an opportunity to exhibit and market local crafts, art and products more effectively. They hope to attract conscious individuals and groups that value local craftsmanship, fair trade and sustainability through online awareness campaigns. The goal is to create a cultural hub in the region, where local artists, craftspeople and entrepreneurs can showcase their talent and skill and have access to buyers.
For Ahangama Coliving, this project is not Business as usual, but a way to impact the long-term resilience and income earning capacity of the local community. They are committed to empowering women (of vulnerable circumstances in particular), thereby improving their living standards and enabling them to support their families. The team firmly believes that empowered women are essential for successful economic and long-term sustainable development of any community.
Furthermore, the team believes in the importance of economic resilience, as well as cultural resilience. Therefore, they intend to support the stilt fisherman in the locale by creating an inclusive place for all, and also intend to host various pop-up exhibitions and events to showcase Sri Lankan culture and arts to a wider audience. They want to ensure that products are sourced and created locally in a responsible and sustainable manner, so that no tourist leaves with an imported souvenir from China or any other country.
Sustainable waste management and recycling practices will be set in place by collaborating with organizations such as Aquadot (zero plastics), Neem Team and Clean river project. Sustainable design workshops as well as awareness programs, community outreach projects will be carried out regularly for the continuous development of the local crafts and community, while the space will also function as a community centre for the local kids during the low tourism season.
“It has been a wonderful experience just watching our little community grow with us through the last couple of years, and we are positive that the new initiative would make a far more positive impact on their lives; and we were absolutely thrilled to find out that Sri Lanka tourism Alliance and GLX will be supporting us to make this initiative a reality, specially during these challenging times. We must add that we were pleasantly surprised by how smooth and efficient the whole process of acquiring the grant was. The entire team at SLTA and GLX was very helpful and all of us in our little town are truly grateful.”
– Anurangi and Ismael