Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children

by Tea Leaf Trust
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Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Train 155 Youth to Teach 2325 Sri Lankan Children
Our coronavirus response team
Our coronavirus response team

Dear All,

We hope that you are all safe and well and send our best wishes in these tought times.

We are delighted to say that we have reached our extended funding goal and are closing the page. Times are tough in Sri Lanka, following the Easter Sunday Bombings schools were closed to external agencies (us!) for four months, then again for the general election and subsequent red tape... no sooner had we got in the rhythm for delivering the project at the start of 2020... Coronavirus hit and schools, including ours, have now been shut for the best part of two months as strict curfew measures have been imposed.

We have not stopped and have delivered many projects during this period. During the shut down in 2019, we developed street dramas around peace and reconciliation and performed them in front of over 800 members of communities seeing an upsurge in fear and hate aimed at the Muslim community.

We have developed our teacher training programme and have expanded from two centres to three centres and have been running a mobile library bus project reaching over 2,000 children of remote communities a year. Our students have been delivering service projects that have benefited over 50,000 community members.

Now, with Coronavirus, we have been leading an emergency response in the tea estates and have delivered over 1,200 food parcels giving families 2 weeks worth of food and hand soap - at the same time, our staff have been putting up posters and raising awareness of how to keep safe. Many of you have donated to that emergency appeal - thank you.

Looking forward, we are ready to deliver this project across not one but all three of our centres. We will train 350 full-time students aged between 18 and 24 to teach free English lessons to over 5,000 children a year at over 50 government schools. Your donations will add value to so many lives.

A special note for our regular donors - we would love you to continue your support and you will have the option to transfer your monthly donations to our Emergency Coronavirus Response Funding Page. 

Thank you all, and sending love and thoughts to you all,

Tim and Yas

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Hello!

Just wanted to write a short update on how 2020 has started off and to thank you for your kindness and support.

We now have three centres that we run in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, and are thrilled that these centres have started 2020 with the registrations and enrolment for our new intake of the Main Diploma programmes.

Tea Leaf Vision Maskeliya, our flagship centre, received 337 applications for 150 places - we have squeezed in 165 students to try and meet the demand. Tea Leaf Vision Nuwara Eliya has 110 students registered and attending and our satellite centre in Tallawakelle is over-subscribed with 67 applications for 40 places. 

Students who were not able to gain a full-time place have been invited to part-time classes on the weekends. We recognise that life is getting tougher, salaries that were already insulting and dangerously low are stagnating whilst living costs are rising. It is due to this that we are trying to find new partnerships to launch new initiatives to support these young people and their families.
The most exciting thing to report is that we believe the local government has now relaxed its ruling for us so we are able to run a full Community English Programme this year. We have already started to train our students how to teach Basic English to young children and this training will happen weekly until April. In May, our students will leave school at lunchtime on Wednesdays to travel to remote tea estate schools to teach free English classes for two hours a week. We are aiming to reach around 50 schools and 3,500 children this year across our centres.
Please do let me know if you have any questions. Please also get in touch if you would be interested in volunteering at our centres in Sri Lanka, we would love to see you.
With best wishes,
Tim and Yas and the Tea Leaf Trust Team
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Some of our wonderful students
Some of our wonderful students

Hello!

I hope that everything is good in your world.

I wanted to write with the final update of 2019, which has been a terrible, frustrating and inspiring year.

Terible because of the tragic Easter Sunday Bombings that took so many lives and saw the political leaders of the country, across the board, run for cover and protect themselves rather than lead and look after their people.

Frustrating, because in order to have a better chance in the elections (just finished), the politicians kept the country on an unnecessary high alert in order to garner votes. This meant that government schools were not able to open their doors to external providers like Tea Leaf Trust and so children across the country lost wonderful opportunities... and this project had to be delivered in a different way.

Inspiring, because at Tea Leaf Trust we have 29 staff who are all under the age of 30. 27 of them are graduates of our programme. In the last year they have faced and dealt with political upheaval, terrorist attacks and the resulting communal violence and tensions. They have worked harder, complained less and shown maturity lacking in their country's leadership. It has been incredible to watch. 

So, to the Community English Programme. Despite being 'hamstrung' by not being able to run the classes in schools, we achieved the following things:

  • We trained 250 of our Main Diploma students in how to teach Basic English to children, skills that many have put into practice in their own communities

 

  • We circumvented the issue by running two full days of children's activities in 14 different locations engaging 2,091 children. These sessions taught some Basic English, but also shared information about health and nutrition in areas where the malnutrition rates in children are extremely high. 97% of the children reported back that they had increased their knowledge about this subject AND had a good time!

 

  • We used the additional time available for the students to write and prepare street dramas around the subject of peace and reconciliation. They then performed these street dramas at 15 locations for 1,430 people

 

  • 155 students have also carried out Individual Service Projects, designed and delivered over a 6 week period to help their communities and those in them who are the worst off. During the project, students volunteered 4,287.5 hours of their own time and helped 35,247 community members by replacing pipes and fixing water tanks, fixing windows, repairing bus shelters, teaching children English. The staggering figure is that 83% of students continued their projects after the deadline to continuing helping their communities

It has been a tough year, no doubt, but the project has helped over 2,500 children and young people as well as over 50,000 community members.

Thank you for your invaluable support. We are hugely grateful and really couldn't have done this without you.

With best wishes,

Tim, Yas and all of us at Tea Leaf Trust

Classroom learning
Classroom learning
An old favourite - thank you!
An old favourite - thank you!

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Our students, now trained to teach Basic English
Our students, now trained to teach Basic English

Hello,

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

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Our young, diverse staff team and volunteer
Our young, diverse staff team and volunteer

Dear All,

Thank you for your support for our work to train young people to enable them to teach children in their communities. This report is to update you on the progress we have made in starting the project, and also to give you an update on the security situation in the country, how that is impacting on delivery and what we are doing to ensure we create change.

On Easter Sunday, homegrown Islamist extremists detonated eight bombs targeting Christians in churches and tourists in luxury hotels. The government response was poor to non-existent and that has allowed the growing wave of Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalism to exert its influence. The communal violence has led to curfews due to attacks on mosques and Muslim businesses in certain regions and more widespread individual acts of harassment and assault of individual Muslims.

The overall situation has been intensified by a terrorist 'safe house' with blueprints of 30 local government schools being found within 5km of one of our centres. This has led to increased security and our Zonal Education Director asking us to postpone the start of our Community English Programme until further notice. We believe this to be at least until September 2019. 

We are using this delay to embed peace and reconciliation activities in the Community English Programme. This programme was going to start with 15 minutes of general ice-breaker activities and end with 15 minutes of fun games. Instead, we are going to deliver short, fun sessions on diversity and ethnic cohesion in these moments. We are doing this in response to the communal tensions that gain hold easily and quickly in a country where children of different ethnicities are educated separately. This results in 70% of Sri Lankan youth not having a friend outside of their ethnic group.

This is a terrible situation that the country is still coming to terms with, and one that has delayed the start of our programme. However, it has given us the time and space to tailor our programme so that whilst children are learning vital English, they are also developing a greater understanding of how diversity is something to be proud of and celebrate.

The overall aims and outcomes will remain the same and we will soon start the training of our main diploma students in how to teach Basic English to kids. We will though, gain a greater impact by focusing the available 'downtime' and create games and activities that bring a greater understanding of others. We are doing this because we believe that real-life experiences have the ability to overcome inherited prejudices.

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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
Nuwara Eliya, Central Province Sri Lanka

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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