Jayachithra Velayudan

Program Coordinator of the Women's Centre

Active in Country: Sri Lanka

DTP Alumna: 2009 Human Rights Advocacy and Business Program - Thailand & 2008 18th Annual Program - Australia



Jayachithra Velayudan participated in DTP 18th Annual Program in Australia in 2008 and DTP Human Rights Advocacy and Business Program in Thailand in 2009.


Jayachithra has worked as a Program Coordinator of the Women’s Centre, an NGO based in Sri Lanka, since 2002. The Women’s Centre aims to promote and protect workers’ rights in the Sri Lankan Free Trade Zones by collecting information about the conditions of workers, lobbying with concerned government agencies including the police, and organising workshops aimed at raising gender sensitivity and rights awareness. Jayachithra took part in DTP’s 2009 Human Rights Advocacy and Business Program, developed to assist human rights advocates to respond practically to challenges posed by the growing power of multinational corporations and their subsidiaries.


Sri Lanka’s export processing zones – free trade areas set up to promote industrial exports with certain regulatory exemptions – are notorious for weakening human rights protections. Pressure on labour activists and official intolerance of union activities leaves the predominantly female workforce exposed to sexual harassment, wage discrimination and oppressive working conditions.


“I look into the sea and it reminds me of the sweat of the factory workers, their hard work and suffering. Its salty taste is like their sweat that never turns sweet, just like their lives. They are the masses in the Free Trade Zone of Sri Lanka who support the backbone of our economy. When I look into the ocean I recall all that suffering while others only see its beauty.


Profile was part of 2015 DTP's 25th Anniversary Exhibition