Our students, now trained to teach Basic English
It is lovely to have the opportunity to update you through this platform, and once again to thank you for your support.
In the last three months things have gradually returned to normal in the tea plantations in Sri Lanka - normal within very strange times. The last year has seen an unconstitutional coup (Oct - Dec 2018), terrible terrorist attacks (April 2019) and the rise and threat of Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalism (since 2012, but accelerated since the attacks on April 21st).
As you may have read in the last report, the attacks and resulting communal violence have led to the government and zonal education departments stopping all external engagement with schools. This means that we are yet to be allowed into schools to run our programme. However, we have made some excellent progress:
1) We have trained 200 young people in how to teach Basic English to young children from their communities
2) 160 of these passed their basic teaching assessment first time
3) 40 of these passed the assessment after further lessons and practice
4) Teaching pairs have been created with the top 100 from assessment being paired with the lower 100 to form a nice balance
5) We are in continuing discussions with the Zonal Education Directors in the areas where we work and are hopeful that we can start to run classes from September 4th 2019
6) Groups have students have developed excellent street dramas around ethnic cohesion and the celebration of diversity to be performed in community locations this term (this is not in the original project but has been added to utilise the time when we would have been teaching the programme)
7) We are organising four days of children's activities in October to teach the children who have missed out on classes and expect over 2,000 children to benefit from some basic English lessons and health and nutrition information
8) We sent 76 students from the tea estates with staff to a peaceful protest in Colombo voicing the need for peace and reconciliation
We continue to work to deliver the project that you have supported - the above points 6, 7 and 8 have not utilised any of this funding, but have made sure that the students have been learning leadership and teaching skills in whatever ways we can teach them, at the same time as supporting peace within the country and young children learning English.
Thanks again and do get in touch with any concerns or comments, or if you would like to volunteer or support us in a different way.
With very best wishes,
Tim, Yas and All at Tea Leaf Trust