Gospel House Handicrafts is Sri Lanka's leading Fair Trade manufacturer of crafted wooden toys. Established in Puttalam in 1977, they provide employment and training to the marginalised and semi-educated youth in Sri Lanka.
They have given employment to 25 permanent workers within their main production facility, while nearly 120 producers are provided with various types of work in the locality.
Although the organisation now has over 1000 products, it came from humble beginnings. John Karunaratne had a dream to provide jobs for unemployed young men around Colombo, Sri Lanka. Using the motor from a broken tumble-dryer, he made a wood-working lathe and Gospel House Handicrafts was born.
In the years since, his hard work has enabled hundreds of producers to provide for their families and communities. John died in 1983, so his eldest son Shiran took over the business and still runs it today. Shiran's philosophy is that if by making a particular decision he can give work to even just one person, then that is what he will do.
Gospel House Handicrafts use Albesia wood for a large selection of their toys which has many sustainable benefits - Albesia Falcataria is one of the fastest-growing trees in the world. This makes it a great natural and sustainable resource that can help boost the national economy if used well. It is an extremely light but tough wood - perfect for children's toys.