There are over 5000 different indigenous community groups scattered over 70 countries around the globe, commonly at the risk of poverty, hunger, conflict, discrimination and marginalization. Hence, importance of prioritizing indigenous people in economic activities is essential in order to confirm human rights of ensuring no one is left behind, allowing participatory approach for everyone to take part in the development process, and offering a space for indigenous peoples’ desires and anticipations for a secured future.
The tangible and intangible heritage of Rathugala Vedda which is strongly vulnerable and marginalized has become to saturate gradually and at a risk of degeneration. However, promoting entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses are the most promising strategies for economic development in low-end marginalized communities, as they are neglected in mainstream economic activities, probably due to lack of sufficient competencies, skills, nor recognition. Hence, this was an effort made by the Department of Tourism Studies of Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka to uncover the potentials of this valuable living heritage in order to eliminate the marginalization of indigenous community through entrepreneurialism development in Rathugala indigenous community village. The community was trained on capitalizing their traditional knowledge for value added product development, and supported to market their products through online marketing campaign and establishing sales center at the entrance in the village for six months period with the support of experts in different fields.
This project was conducted by the Department of Tourism Studies of Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Central Cultural Fund of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Tourism of Uva Province, Sri Lanka.