Women’s Development Centre


In the early 80s, the WDC focused its attention on women’s issues and intervened in domestic violence. As the target group expanded and activities progressed, their attention further expanded to vulnerable groups including children, youth, persons with disabilities, sex workers, and so on.

In 1986 the WDC registered as an NGO and initiated the Community Development programme, which was an entry point to identifying women’s issues within the communities. The outcome was the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) disability programme for mothers of disabled children who were not getting support, and were unable to engage in development activities. In the latter part of 1989 the Centre for Crisis Intervention, a shelter for female victims of violence, was established to provide protection, care, and rehabilitation of women and girl survivors of GBV (gender-based violence), while they were taking legal action against their perpetrators.

The establishment of the regional women’s forums began in the year 2000 and in 2001 the ‘Network of Women (NOW)’ was established, organising small women’s groups into a forum of women’s groups for collective action and influence. At present there are 9 such forums functioning in 7 districts.

This is all a vision of a great woman, the late Mrs. Pearl Stephen, who was able to understand a woman’s woes and believed in each woman’s potential towards achieving greatness. Today her vision has become a reality through the influence the WDC as an organisation has had in positively contributing towards creating a gender equal, just and secure society for all.


WDC’s mission and overall goal is to be a socially accountable and sustainable mediator. By intervening through creative, innovative and effective change initiatives WDC strives to encourage self-reliance and promote equal opportunities for at risk and vulnerable women, youth, and children with/without disabilities. The organisation advocates on a rights based ‘bottom-up’ approach that is led and supported by a professional team of activists and local networks, that work at local and national level.

WDC’s vision is to be a leading role model creating a dignified society serving the socially challenged women and children of Sri Lanka.


The concrete goals of WDC are:

  1. To create a society where women and persons with disabilities are actively involved and have equal opportunity and access to resources and control over their lives
  2. To ensure the rights of every individual is practiced, protected and upheld
  3. To provide non-judgmental physical, emotional and economic support for women who have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence
  4. To work towards a society free from violence against women
  5. To ensure good governance and democracy through political participation of women within Sri Lanka

The three-pronged approach of WDC is Prevention, Intervention and Advocacy. This forms the basis of the programmes of WDC.


Learn more about all the things that the Women's Development Centre provides for underprivileged people in central Sri Lanka, and their current and past initiatives.
Creating a just and secure society for women and children