Our partner, The Church of Ceylon, through their Plantation Community Development programme is improving wellbeing of people living in the tea plantation communities in Sri Lanka.
One of Sri Lanka’s main products is tea and there are numerous plantation estates around the country. Many of the people who live and work in Sri Lanka’s plantations have endured years of marginalisation from the rest of Sri Lankan society which have led to their poor living conditions.
The Plantation Community Development programme provides education to their children from tea plantation communities. This involves preschools, non-formal education classes, seminars and scholarships for A level and university students. The programme also offers support to pregnant mothers and advocates for human rights of people living and working in the tea plantation community.
Throughout Advent and Christmas 2021 we will be standing in solidarity with our partner, The Church of Ceylon. Their vital work with women and children from Sri Lanka’s tea plantation communities is transforming lives and lifting people out of poverty.
Mrs Thilagavathi’s Story
Many girls and young women in the tea plantation communities feel pressure from their families and communities to marry at earlier ages than they would like to. Mrs Thilagavathi’s family live and work on the Farm Estate plantation, her mother is a tea picker and her father had to leave his job when his vision became impaired. Due to her family’s low income, Mrs Thilagavathi dropped out of school and started to work as a servant in Colombo. Her monthly salary was just £43 and she worked in the same house for 5 years. She got married at the age of 18 and now lives back on Farm Estate with her husband and twin daughters.
“I dropped my studies and started to work because of poverty, but I didn’t manage to save any money and we are still struggling”
The Plantation Community Development Programme enables young women like Mrs Thilagavathi to continue in education and create better opportunities. It also advocates for better wages and living conditions for those working on the plantations so that young women don’t feel pressured to marry early to support their families.
Arulrajh Arulnesan grew up on a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka. He was planning to leave his studies and start working when The Plantation Community Development Programme stepped in to support his education and he was able to achieve his dream of studying at Jaffna University. Now parents on the plantation encourage their children to study by saying “Learn and one day you may also become like Mr Arulnesan”. Knowing his experience was inspiring other children on the plantation to study encouraged him to work hard every day and achieve his qualifications.
During the Covid pandemic, Arulrajh saw children and young adults from the plantation resorting to alcohol and drugs. Fearing a rise in addiction among the young people he knew, he decided to remain on the estate and encourage them to pursue their studies. He now plans to start teaching at Gallula estate, which lacks a proper school. He would also like to share his experiences with children living on the plantation and motivate them through awareness programmes.
A CUP FULL OF HOPE
USPG Partners in Global Mission
5 Trinity Street
Tel – 0207 921 2200
To find out more visit – https://uspg.org.uk
We are the United Society for Partners in the Gospel. Founded in 1701, we are the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential and champion justice.
Environmental degradation. Turbulent global politics. Gender injustice. The desperate flight of migrants. Forced displacement of people at record levels. USPG believes today’s major challenges cry out for words and actions that express a love and solidarity that goes beyond narrow self-interest and national boundaries. We believe the churches of the Anglican communion are called urgently in mission to be communities of resistance and hope, witness to the healing power of Christ’s love. So we invite you to journey together with us in rethinking mission, energising church and community and championing justice, which are our three strategic aims.
Whether you come to a vision for mission in the 21st century as a church leader or as an inquiring individual, we would be delighted to hear from and engage with you.
So please do not hesitate to be in touch – https://www.uspg.org.uk
USPG’s Vision Is:
For the churches of the Anglican Communion to experience a deeper fellowship together in Christ and be sources of transformation within their communities and beyond.
USPG’s Mission Is:
To partner churches across the Anglican Communion in rethinking mission, energising church and community and championing justice.
We bring people together from different parts of the global church in mutually enriching conversation and profound encounters, to increase understanding and deepen our discipleship as inter-cultural Christians.
Energising Church and Community:
We make connections between the dioceses and communities of the Churches of Britain and Ireland and those overseas and we seek ways in which faith and action can go hand-in-hand. We look to strengthen the unity and capacity of the Anglican church by promoting education and leadership and by learning from each other in rich exchange.
We accompany churches of the Anglican Communion in their struggles against injustices associated with gender, climate change, migration, the human rights of indigenous people and inter-religious living. We support Christians across the world to form communities of hope and resistance and we strive to give a platform to the faithful among those with power in the secular world.