The Tea Leaf Trust, Sri Lanka (29 January 2019)

With help from Rotary the Tea Leaf Trust has flourished

We visited the Tea Leaf Trust school at Maskeliya in the Tea country, a charity in Sri Lanka the Rotary Cub of Guernsey helped financially for a few years from 2011. The school was created to give young people aged 18-24 opportunities to work away from the tea fields. These young people have taken their A levels and primarily learn English, business and life skills.

We had a fascinating morning. On arrival we were met by Carol a visiting volunteer teacher from Canada and two 2nd year diploma students Richard and Roy who acted as our guides. The school has a 160 students who travel in daily, some of them taking up to 3 hours in each direction by bus and foot. The school is well established now having been assisted by a number of Rotary clubs including ours and from a financial perspective will continue into the foreseeable future without any problems. It is the students who need help at the moment and they are considering setting up a Hardship Fund for the 2nd year students to assist with the cost of travel which can be a sizeable part of the daily wage of a tea plantation worker of 800 rupees (£3.50).

We then travelled on for 2 hours to the charities second location which is at Nuwara Eliya, affectionately known as Little England because of the climate. There we met Tim Pare and were able to discuss the challenges facing the Tealeaf Trust at this second venue, which is in its infancy and still developing.

The Tea Leaf Trust has set up a new Community English Programme. The Main Diploma students are trained to be Student-Teachers and run free basic English classes for children between the ages of 9 to 11 in local government schools where much of the English teaching is low grade and undertaken by teachers who can hardly speak English. This new initiative is proving very successful with the potential to move from affecting hundreds of lives to thousands. They do need funding assistance with this project and I will prepare a paper with more complete information after my return for members to consider.

Please click HERE to access the Tea Leaf Trust website.

Paul Steele
29 January 2019

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