Support a Student, Strengthen a Community

by Tea Leaf Trust
Support a Student, Strengthen a Community

Project Report | May 20, 2024
Talent Show and the wonderful Puwaneshwaran

By Tim Pare | Co-Founder CEO

Students practise for their Talent Show
Students practise for their Talent Show

Vanakum, Ayubowan and Hello,

Thanks so much for your support of our vital work in Sri Lanka. In this report, we share how important the Talent Show is to build confidence and promoting social cohesion between students of different ethnicities. Then we demonstrate the type of life-changing impact we have through the story of Puwaneshwaran, a Tea Leaf Alumni

We believe that to achieve our mission to uplift tea estate communities, we must build and strengthen our students’ self-esteem. Talent Show is one of the first Main Diploma events where students are given a chance to do something new (and a little scary) but with the support of people who care for them and believe in them. Students come together as classes and smaller groups to blow their peers, teachers and parents away with their creativity, energy and talents.

Ms Rajendiram, from TLC Bogawantalawa, told us how proud she is to see her students putting such dedication into their acts:

“It amazes me how creative they are and the synergy that they’ve built within their groups. We have a fan dance and a horror dance alongside students performing a wide range of musical talents. This year we also have powerful acts raising awareness about AI technology, stopping child abuse and the importance of fairness - all through dance! 

Mr Jegadheeshan, from TLC Maskeliya, shared how excited he becomes when watching the students practise:

“They are doing so well; their dedication is excellent. Every day they come to school to practise, even at the weekends! We have students performing on the piano and flute; a drama that is challenging drug addiction; a solo dance in the style of Michael Jackson and we even have some students who have created a performance that combines singing with drawing!”

Meet Puwanesh, a former TLT student who defied the odds to become a Chartered Accountant in Colombo. His journey from hardship to success is truly inspiring. Puwanesh's story highlights the transformative impact that the education and support at TLT is having to uplift the tea estate communities.

What was life like as you grew up?
“During my childhood there were four of us children and with my parents six. It was really a hard time for us. My parents were working at an estate where they were able to get 2000 or 3000 Rupees per month. With that they were supposed to give us food, give us clothes and give us an education. Impossible. I can still remember my parents going to work while they were sick or during the rain.

I studied in a government school for about 12 years but apart from being able to write my name, I didn’t know anything in English. When I was sitting for my English O-Level, I failed the first time, the second time I failed and third time I also failed. Eventually I joined in the Advanced Level but I experienced the same thing. I didn’t go for more than one sitting, I knew that I was going to fail again.”

How did your life change after studying at a Tea Leaf Centre?

“I was encouraged to join Tea Leaf after my A-Levels and my English and confidence improved a lot. I can still remember my Success & Ethics lessons. It was very new to me, I never learned things like that before. Now, when I go back to my corporate job, there are a lot of things that I have learned here that have helped me to be a better employee.

Tea Leaf helped me to get on the Internship Programme with Janashakthi Insurance in Colombo. While there, I was thinking about how I can become a degree holder because that was my all-time dream. I got a call from the Indian High Commissioner saying that there was an interview call for universities in India. I went there and there were more than 100 students, they all needed a translator to speak to the High Commissioner. Because of the skills I got at Tea Leaf, I was able to speak to him directly and he offered me a scholarship.

It was a very hard when I was in India because I was not getting anything financially to support my parents, but they were very, very supportive. With their support I was able to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Madras successfully. I started working in Colombo which allowed my parents to stop working. I feel that’s one of the best things that I have achieved in my life.”

You can empower more students like Puwanesh by donating to Tea Leaf Trust or volunteering to make a difference in their lives. Together, we can change futures!

Students enjoying some down time in Term One
Students enjoying some down time in Term One
Puwaneshwaran, an alumni of 2011 cohort
Puwaneshwaran, an alumni of 2011 cohort

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Jan 31, 2024
New year - New students, New staff and New centre!

By Tim Pare | Co-Founder CEO

Oct 16, 2023
The final push for Graduation

By Tim Pare | Co-Founder

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Organization Information

Tea Leaf Trust

Location: London, Greater London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @TeaLeafTrust1
Project Leader:
Tim Pare
London , Greater London United Kingdom
$32,828 raised of $40,000 goal
 
598 donations
$7,172 to go
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