Protect mental health, keep our centres open!

by Tea Leaf Trust
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Protect mental health, keep our centres open!
Ramesh - Graduate, Finance Officer and full of hop
Ramesh - Graduate, Finance Officer and full of hop

Dear All,

I have just come back from three weeks in the tea estates of Sri Lanka. The country is in political and economic turmoil. The most stark example of how this plays out for the poorest communities is that of a good old egg.

Now, when I was living in SL in 2019, one egg cost about Rs 12 /-. Now it costs around Rs 50 /-. More than this though, most of the eggs I ate within the tea estate areas had no yolk... eggs look weird without yolks, but the reason is that the normal chicken food is now too expensive and the cheap version does not have enough protein for the chickens to produce normal eggs. So the impact on the poor is that they pay around 4 x the price for their egg, but it does not have the health value that it should have, meaning their families have less money and still don't get the nourishment they need.

In my 15-year relationship with the country, I have never known life be as tough as it is in Sri Lanka right now. Hope is more important than ever... and that is what our centres bring, thank you for your support and kindness.

According to the stats and focus groups, 16 out of 20 students in our classrooms will live with an alcoholic, 17 out of 20 will witness or experience domestic violence and young people from the tea estates are some of the most likely in the country to commit suicide. 95% of our students live off less than $1 a day. In 'normal' times, we have comparable rates of attendance to colleges in the UK (over 90%) despite 15% of our students travelling more than 6 hours a day to access our programme. Our usual drop-out rate is less than 7%, miraculous compared to government training programmes. 

What's the special ingredient? Well, kindness and optimism are pretty important, but hope is the one. Hope and knowledge that what they are learning is relevant to both their professional and personal lives, their skills and their emotional health and resilience. We replace the poverty of hope, with the feeling that they can build successful lives and lift their families out of extreme poverty.

This year, with the economic crisis leading to spiralling costs, it is tougher than it ever has been and we want to support each of our students with a small stipend each month to allow them to attend as well as eat. If you can, please sponsor a student until Dec 2022: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/support-a-student-strengthen-a-community/

Meet Ramesh (photo attached), one of our graduates... now one of our Finance Officers and full of hope. Sorry about the poor quality photo, but what a smile!

Thanks again,

Tim

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Chatting with our guests
Chatting with our guests

Vanakum, Ayubowan and Hello!

We hope that you are all doing well and that your families are happy and healthy.

This report is full of optimism and good news, even with the struggles the country is facing. We have been delighted to welcome our first volunteer and first group of guests since before the start of the pandemic.

Marcus came for a week and spent his time supporting our staff at out Maskeliya Centre. He stayed with one of our local families who host our volunteers - ate enough wonderful rice and curry to sink a ship - and worked with the business teachers to support our students.

Also, a family visited as part of their arranged tour around the Island, through our partnership with Teardrop Hotels. They spent time with our students talking about real life on the tea estates, kindly donated some books and led a discussion on human rights (one was a Lawyer).

The value of these visits is more than help with business lessons or discussions, it enhances the confidence of our students, it makes them feel heard and seen and it improves their spoken English hugely.

The other benefit is to the country. With all the news coverage of the political turmoil and the cost of living, many tourists are cancelling their holidays - this compounds the issue by reducing the business that so many families depend on. Sri Lanka is still open, it is still full to the brim of beautiful, generous people... and our kettle is on... so, if you are ever tempted, get in touch and let's have a cuppa and improve life on the tea estates together.

With very best wishes,

Tim, Yas and all at Tea Leaf Trust

p.s. Have you checked out our new website?

Our first volunteer since 2019
Our first volunteer since 2019

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Thank you! (pre-Covid photo)
Thank you! (pre-Covid photo)

Hello Everyone,

We hope that you are safe and well in the run up to the holiday season. Our love and thoughts go to any of you who are 'doing life tough' at the moment.

So, on November 22nd, the day we have longed for and have planned for arrived - our centres reopened. As promised to our students, and because of your support, we were able to provide our programmes from the moment the government and education department gave the green light. 

Our staff continue to amaze us, and they are now working double shifts until the end of December to give the 2021 cohort, who have been so badly affected by the pandemic, the most opportunity to learn as possible. 

Right now, our students are studying employability skills, getting their CVs and cover letters ready, applying for jobs through our partnerships and links and practising their interview skills. We are supporting those who need it with bus fairs and interview clothes.

Rebuilding lives in the tea estates will take time and needs to start with the young people. Lives have been affected by a state of emergency for food shortages, huge unemployment, a politicised vaccine roll out that has largely ignored the tea workers and a huge rise in the cost of living. Young people hold the key to supporting their families and finding employment - but this is a huge responsibility that can take its toll. We are here for them as they hustle, as they apply for work, as they get the skills they need to lift their families out of extreme poverty.

We are being overwhelmed with applications for 2022. If you are able to support us with a regular gift... well, that would really be a wonderful Christmas present for the youth of the tea estates.

Thank you again, and Happy Christmas (if you celebrate), and best wishes from all of us at Tea Leaf Trust,

Tim, Yas and all at TLT

Look who's back!
Look who's back!

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Second from left, our beautiful Azeeza
Second from left, our beautiful Azeeza

Hello!

Thanks for taking time to have a read of this report and for your support in helping us make so much impact even in these testing times. I hope that you are all doing ok and are safe and healthy.

As Sri Lanka announces yet another lockdown for the next ten days, we wanted to start off by remembering two of our community we have lost in recent weeks to the pandemic, which has now taken hold within the tea estates - particularly in Maskeliya, which is where our journey started off.

We want to remember Azeeza, one of our past students and a former staff member, who passed leaving her husband (also a past student) and two children. Our love and thoughts go to her family at this time. Also, a long-term supporter of our work, Mr Mahanama Dodampegama, a friend through the Rotary Club of Colombo who visited and inspired our students and community many times. Our love to all mourning their passing.

However... there are beautiful stories to be told as well. Our staff, who are all under the age of 33 and all past students, are working tirelessly to call our students and alumni and check in on them and their families - offering support when needed - run online classes for those who have phones or computers, and posting worksheets to all students who are not able to join online or over what's app. Our staff team have been providing counselling support for their communities and leadership about how to establish vegetable gardens to provide some sustainable food source. They have been distributing food parcels and ensuring those who need medicine have it. 

I find it remarkable. These young leaders are also living in the tea estate communities, and have their own difficult situations at home to navigate. For example, most of our staff are now the only bread winners in their families, where previously there have been a few people working. Their salaries, particularly those of our junior staff, are being stretched by the unemployment that has hit the estate sector hard. 

In response, and because of your amazing generosity, our amazing Country Director has called each staff member and had a long chat about what support they need. For one, it is to escape some domestic violence that has happened since a family member returned from Colombo where he was made redundant. For others it is that they were not able to cover their bills and their food as sole wage earners. We have boosted salaries of all those junior staff and supported the rent of our staff member to move into lodgings.

Our staff are our heart beat. We know them first as students, then as employees and always as people and friends. We are proud of the fact that due to your amazing support, we are able to make sure that all of our staff team has access to help and support when they are in tough times. They are so committed to us and it is a privilege to offer extra support when they are doing life tough. Thank you for allowing this to be possible.

If you would like to talk about how any aspect of this email, then please email tim@tealeaftrust.com and we'll set-up a call.

With love to all, stay safe and stay strong,

Tim

The kind and inspirational Mahanama Aya
The kind and inspirational Mahanama Aya
Our staff on a sunnier day in 2019
Our staff on a sunnier day in 2019

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

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.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Tea Leaf Trust

Location: London, Greater London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @TeaLeafTrust1
Project Leader:
Tim Pare
Auckland, Auckland Region New Zealand
$50,357 raised of $60,000 goal
 
566 donations
$9,643 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Tea Leaf Trust has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.