Women's home gardens on Sri Lankan Tea Estates

Date Posted:23 March 2017 |   Author: Jenny Green |  

Support us with this great project in Sri Lanka

We’re excited to be continuing our partnership with Penn Wimochana Gnanodayam (PWG), who are a well established Sri Lankan grass roots organisation who have been working to improve the lives of tea plantation workers for 40 years. From 2015-2020 we’re supporting the Women’s Home Gardens project, which is assisting approximately 75 families each year.

PWG is focused on helping to break down the isolation and ignorance of downtrodden tea plantation women while building up the skills, confidence and leadership to help them improve their lives. Field workers visit the estates giving encouragement and advice while community animators there keep initiatives alive and foster self-reliance in nutrition, healthcare, and organic food gardens.

What is the primary purpose of the Women’s Home Gardens project?

To promote and improve nutrition and health of women and family members through home gardening.

Why is it important?

In the tea plantations, people consume less and settle for food that is low in nutritional value due to their low income and high cost of living. Mostly women, babies and growing children are the victims of malnutrition and other health problems. Most of the tea estates are situated in remote areas and lack of medical facilities. These too have an adverse effect on their health.

What training has been provided in the project’s first year?

During the first year many awareness programmes and demonstrations on home gardening have been conducted. They training has included: 

  • Introduction and advantages of organic farming for new members
  • Demonstration on preparing vegetable beds
  • Compost making
  • Making of water manure
  • Natural pesticide methods
  • Planning of planting vegetables in keeping with the environment and the seasons
  • Mixed crop cultivation
  • Importance of short and long term cultivation 

What have the benefits been after the first year of the project?

It’s motivating for us at Tradewinds, to hear of the project benefits after just one year.

“When we conduct home gardening demonstrations and other awareness programmes at least two or three members from each family attend the programme. Young children with much enthusiasm participate with their parents or grandparents. Another important point is that nearby persons also join in helping the women when their home gardens are prepared for planting. This kind of activity known as ‘Shramadana’ (collective labour) encourages the community tremendously.”

Gita Amarasekara
President PWG

The rigorously documented project benefits have included: 

  • an increase in the number of women feeding their families with home-grown organic food and reduced signs of malnutrition in their children, but there is much more to be done in this area.
  • an increase in household income due to the easy access to free home grown food and money earned from selling surplus vegetables at markets.
  •  improvements to the local environment resulting from sustainable food production methods and reduced soil erosion and water wastage.

Left to right: Improving waterways; planting alongside waterways to reduce erosion; water composting.

“We observe that after involving women in the PWG home gardening and other income generation activities together with our empowering awareness programmes, they realize their value and importance in society and their self-esteem and self-confidence seems to be building up.”

Gita Amarasekara
President PWG

Please help us reach our fundraising target of $5000 per year to support this wonderful project. You can make one off or regular tax-deductible donations to the project.

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Read more information about the project here

If you would you like to make a regular or significant one off donation to this project please Contact Us

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