Sri Lanka’s Ahikuntaka community is one of its most distinctive minority communities with a proud and fascinating history. Unfortunately, rapid social and environment changes taking place in the country today has negatively affected this nomadic group.
Seeking to empower the Ahikuntaka by enhancing their social standards and restoring their vanishing culture and traditions, Dilmah Conservation is providing vocational training and Small Entrepreneur Programmes to the community members, as well as educational programmes on animal welfare for community members who depend on snake charming and training monkeys for their livelihood. An open-air theater and cultural center has been set up to enhance the cultural aspects of the community. Dilmah Conservation also enabled the first Ahikuntaka Variga Sabha (clan meeting) in six decades, which allowed community leaders to come together and discuss issues that are affecting the very existence of the community and ways in which they can be addressed.