Vanakum, Ayubowan and Hello,
As ever, we hope that you and all your loved ones are doing ok as we move into a new phase of the pandemic and hopefully a brighter 2022.
We are so very grateful for your support of this Emergency Coronavirus Response project. Through our alumni network that now spans over 160 tea estates, we were able to identify and support the most in need. The families of 11 people living in three small rooms with only one wage earner, the disabled and the elderly... your donations went where the government or local council or tea estate management would or could not. Through your generosity over 15,000 people were helped at the point when they needed it most. Now, as we move into a new stage of the pandemic, the focus of our support returns to our educational development projects.
If you would like to hear our Principals speak of their aspirations for 2022, then please have a watch of Thiyagarajah Chanderasegaran and Kumaravel Dayaneethybabu by following the links below.
In line with this, and with our centres being allowed to open again (with social distancing measures), we are going to close this page and focus on our longer term fundraiser of keeping our Centres open. This is due to the overwhelming demand we are seeing for our programmes, the urgency of need for employability and English skills, but even moreso, the critical provision of support for our young people's mental health.
We would love to continue to partner with you to bring change and resilience to these forgotten tea estate communities, and are always open to sharing a virtual cup of tea and chat about how we use the donations or how you might help us going forward.
In the meantime, we would draw your kind attention to our main project we are seeking funding for, and just mention that GlobalGiving are matching regular donations to increase your impact further - details are here.
Thank you and best wishes as always,
Tim, Yas and all at Tea Leaf Trust
I hope that you are doing really well and seeing some normality return to your lives and managing to see loved ones and enjoy some good weather (or at least one of the above).
With the situation remaining largely the same in Sri Lanka with our centres shut, our teachers working wonders to support our communities online and through phone calls and vaccinations in the tea estates being so much slower to be rolled out than the rest of the country... I wanted to avoid the same style of report and remind us all of why we do it. I wanted to share the below case study I got sent the other day by the team in Sri Lanka:
Alumni Case Study: Saranya from 2017
Saranya, an alumni from Gouravilla, attended Tea Leaf Vision (TLV) in 2017. She used to travel to school for about an hour every day. She has three brothers; one of them works at TLV while the other two are still in school. Her mother died of illness in 2015, and her father supports the family by working in Colombo. Saranya used to finish all the household chores and get her two brothers ready for school before coming to TLV every day after her mother died.
She used to remain at her uncle's home while learning at TLV, yet she had a great deal of issues there. Despite this, Saranya attended to TLV every day because she was keen to improve her English.
Saranya received excellent grades in her Advanced Level exams, allowing her to gain a place at university. She was the first in her family to get such a fantastic opportunity. She enrolled in TLV to improve her English skills in order to perform better in university. Her brother's extraordinary improvement throughout a year of studies at TLV motivated her.
Saranya was apprehensive about joining TLV at the beginning. She was an introvert who struggled to fit in with the crowd but she gained confidence and began working hard after a few weeks.
She graduated TLV with a distinction pass and joined the university in 2018. She was afraid of the unfamiliar surroundings and people when she first went to university away from home. All of them come from privileged backgrounds and cities, but Saranya came from Maskeliya, which is a disadvantaged location that few people are familiar with. Saranya, on the other hand, was confident because her English was better than that of many of her peers.
TLV has taught her a variety of life skills, which she appreciates. She claims that TLV taught her how to confidently deliver presentations in front of her lectures, trainees, and individuals from other countries.
She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in peace and conflict resolution and served as the ambassador of Sri Lanka at an international peace conference. She was nominated for the Global Peace and Humanitarian Award, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the lives of others through their example.
Saranya worked at International Youth Alliance for Peace as a research intern, volunteer coordinator, and translator, and is now a field coordinator at Shramabhimani Kendrayas, a non-governmental and social services organization. She will finish her bachelor's degree in 2022 and plans to get a master's degree in peace and conflict resolution.
We are so proud of her and so many of our students who leave us and achieve so much in order to lift their families out of extreme poverty.
Here's to Saranya, and here's to you for helping us help her.
With best wishes,
Firstly, as ever, we send our love and thoughts to you and your loved ones as these trying times continue. We hope you are able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Things in the Sri Lankan tea estates continue to be challenging, with the schools still closed, lockdown still in place and families struggling to make ends meet. The government support supposedly extends Rs 5,000 (USD$40) per month to help, but in reality the racism and corruption of the local officials who hold the decision making power means that the Tamils of the tea estates are not seeing this financial support.
So, your support remains critical to creating as much of a safety net as we are able to provide.
In the last month we have extended this support to some members of our junior staff team who live in households where all the other adults have lost their jobs and their own salaries are being stretched to breaking point. We are adding additional 'bonus' pay to the salaries of 13 of our 41 staff to help them. They are all from tea estate communities. We are proud to say that we have been able to continue to employ and support our staff and their families throughout this poandemic, without them we are nothing.
In a bit of good news, the government has announced that NGO/charity staff are to be prioritised for vaccine rollout and this includes all of our staff members, we are really grateful to the government for this decision.
Thank you again for all of your support, and we do wish you a wonderful summer (or winter for those of us in Australia or New Zealand!)
With best wishes,
We hope that you and your loved ones and wider communities are safe and well and beginning to see some small glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel as vaccine roll outs begin to reduce numbers in many places.
In Sri Lanka, things are moving slowly for those within the tea estate communities as the impact for them has been overwhelmingly economic, increasing unemployment amongst our alumni by over 40% and causing already struggling families to drop below the poverty line and rack up additional debt to stay afloat. These are testing times, and whilst there are some positive things to report, we continue to be alert to those individuals and families who are most at risk.
The positive news is that students are back at our centres, although we are only able to to educate half of the students on any given day. The day on and day off rota slows the learning and our local team - who have been inspirational in their energy and commitment to provide the best quality education at all times - are modifying the year's curriculum to ensure students get to at least the baseline of what they need to learn.
Our three centres are over-subscribed and so we are working to meet the need of those we have not been able to offer places full-time. We plan to run part-time classes in basic English over weekends as soon as we are able.
Thank you for your support of our work and this emergency support. Our initial emergency response reached 13,665 people in 2020, and now we support particular cases that are critical with the donations that come in. With 80% on average of our cohorts living off less than $1, the need is too great for us to meet entirely, but our networks and needs assessment means that what we have goes to those who need it most.
Thank you again, and be safe and well,
Tim, Yas and all at Tea Leaf Trust
P.S. I wanted to attach a couple of more uplifting photos, a reminder of the beauty in the world. We hope to see you for a cup of tea in Sri Lanka when it is safe.
Firstly, we send our good wishes to all of you whereever you are and hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well in this challenging year.
Many countries throughout the world have been facing a second wave of Covid-lockdowns and Sri Lanka is not exception. At the beginning of October, it is believed that a buyer from a garment factory returned from a work trip to India and was not picked up as positive. The person returned to work and within a week over a 1,000 cases were found within the factory. Before this transpired, the situation was made worse when all of the workers had a long weekend for the Poya Full Moon bank holiday and many returned to families around the island. After reporting only 3,369 cases and 13 deaths in a well-managed first wave, cases are now well in excess of 10,000.
For our communities, this means that our centres have been shut again after opening in August for around 6 weeks. There have been curfews around the island over the last month, although currently our areas have not been affected other than through all schools being closed.
We have made a decision to offer our 2020 students places again for the 2021 programme, as they have been able to have less than 4 months of lessons this year. Those who are not able to retake will gain a Basic English Certificate rather than our Main Diploma.
We are grateful for your support for this project - we were able to support over 11,000 individuals from 25 different areas. Any further donations will be used to support our communities as they recover from the economic hardship of losing their livelihoods for such an extended period of time - our employability centre has seen a 40% increase in alumni needing to find new work opportunities.
Thank you, and stay safe,
Tim and all at Tea Leaf Trust
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.