Tradewinds' visit to Sri Lanka and resulting new projects

Author: Jenny Green |  

City of Sydney Independent Councillor Jenny Green spent 3 weeks in Sri Lanka visiting tea plantations and meeting with project workers, tea pickers and their families earlier this year. Cr Green is one of Tradewinds' volunteer directors.

In January this year I, along with other Tradewinds Directors, spent three weeks in Sri Lanka on a self funded trip visiting tea plantations and meeting with project workers, tea pickers and their families.

One of the aims of the trip was for the Tradewinds directors to consider providing further financial support to existing projects and consider sponsoring new initiatives.

I really wanted the opportunity to meet the people associated with the projects and to see first hand the entire process of tea production from the leaves being manually picked, the biodynamic and organic process through to the tea factory and shipment.

The tea pickers, all women, work very hard and collect and carry a minimum of 18 kilos of tea leaves a day. Many of the tea pickers we spoke with are illiterate.  They desperately want their children to have an education. Providing education opportunities is the best way to break the family tradition of working for one’s entire life on a tea plantation.

I really admire the incredible job the Sri Lankan projects workers do with so few resources. They have achieved a great deal over the years and increased the education opportunities for young children, but of course there is still much to do.  Some of the preschool teachers are the children of tea pickers who were able to access limited educational opportunities and choose a different life for themselves. Education is such an important tool for empowerment.

As a result of the trip, the new projects that Tradewinds are now supporting include:

  • school education projects for the tea pickers’ children
  • assisting families to establish vegetable gardens, which will improve health and nutrition and provide an opportunity to increase income by selling /bartering extra produce.  

Read more about these projects in Support Our Projects.

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19 November 2015
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