Education for Tea Estate Children


Sri Lanka


Kandy, Pupuressa

Project Partner:

Satyodaya Centre

Target Group:

250 School Children in Years 5-11

Funding Period:





Project Objectives

  • To lift educational achievement of disadvantaged children and young people living in plantation communities on tea estates
  • To support attitudinal changes in the community so that parents see the benefits of education for opening future opportunities for their children. In turn the parents will encourage their children to focus more on their education.
  • To make the Colgrain community a model for others to follow in lifting children’s educational achievement.

Why is this project needed?

In the 19th century, the British brought tea plantation workers from southern India (Tamils) as indentured labourers. Most of their descendants are still living in the line rooms built for them at that time which are owned by the plantations. Today most families still live in one room and a kitchen. Most of the tea plantations lack basic amenities including running water, electricity and transport. Estates are often very isolated in hilly areas with poor roads and little access to transport. The low income and illiteracy make it almost impossible for plantation workers to make lasting changes in their lives. A large number of the estate community are malnourished.

Estate children can access school however they still face many challenges. At Colgrain the nearest school is 7km away and children must walk because no government buses come onto the estate roads. It is difficult for any vehicles to drive on the estate roads, as they are so rough. Even when the children’s parents understand the importance of education, they are unable to help their children with their study, because they are very often illiterate and working long hours. Expectations are also low in the schools as estate children underperform at school compared with children from villages and towns.

The project will focus on changing attitudes to education by working with the children, the parents and the community-based organisation to bring a focus to education. Members of the community-based organisation who met with Tradewinds in January were keen to support children in this age group to succeed in their education and have more options in life.

What will the funding provide?

  • Study tables & chairs to support children to study at home.
  • Funding for an education awareness program for children, parents and community support organisations. It provides staff, food and travel costs for the program. The program will inform and motivate participants to support children’s education.
  • Creation of an educational play space
  • The total amount needed to create an educational play space
  • Funding for educational play sessions in the educational play space. The funds will be used to provide nutritious food, temporary play structures and educational toys.

What are the project’s expected outcomes?

  • Parents in the community will actively support children’s education. This will be evident when parents:
    • talk about their children’s education.
    • show they are proud of their children’s educational achievement.
    • report their children are studying and reading at home.
    • show their interest in what children learn and achieve.
    • support the education activities and join in opportunities.
  • Satyodaya actively identifies and supports initiatives to lift children’s educational achievement
  • The educational achievement of children will improve, as demonstrated by better performance in school testing.
  • Parents report that children have a positive attitude to education demonstrated by participation in after school educational activities and regular home.

How Does our Partner Organisation, Satyodaya, work with the Community?

Satyodya works alongside the community to encourage hope, interest and understanding of the value of education by:

  • helping unschooled parents to understand the value of engaging with their child's education.
  • helping families introduce and maintain children's study as part of the everyday household routine.
  • enabling the estate community to identify goals concerning education. This includes helping the community to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to organize and facilitate group work themselves. This will include supporting parents to increase their understanding of the ways children learn.

Why is the project important to Tradewinds?

Tradewinds is supporting this project because it is focused on improving opportunities for families on tea estates by working with communities so that they can help themselves. Tradewinds has partnered with Satyodaya for several decades and has seen the improvements made through their work. Satyodaya has been working with plantation communities to assist them to take action to improve their lives and to open opportunities, since 1972. Satyodaya is involved with preschool programs, leadership programs, study centres, sustainable agriculture, income generation and micro finance.

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