Have you ever sipped The Republic of Tea’s British Breakfast Black Tea, Earl Greyer Black Tea, or Mango Ceylon Black Tea? If so, you have experienced the exquisite flavor and superior quality of Sri Lankan black tea.
The island nation of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is the source of 5% of the global tea supply. The local tea industry employs nearly one million people, many of whom are women, and contributes $1.5 billion to the country’s economy.
Sri Lanka’s history of tea production dates back to 1867, and women have played—and continue to play—an essential role in this story. Through their skills, strength, and dedication, these women drive local economies and boost their communities in the process.
The Mission of Women of Tea: Sri Lanka
With the Ethical Tea Partnership the PALM Foundation, The Republic of Tea launched the Women of Tea: Sri Lanka program in 2018. The goal of this program is to improve the nutrition, health, hygiene, and financial literacy of women, men, and children on tea estates.
Within the first year of the program, we worked with over 11,000 people to increase access to healthy foods, host nutrition and hygiene training programs, establish community kitchens and home gardens, and build field toilets and breastfeeding stations for workers.
Empowering women to plant and grow their own food at home enables them to cook and consume more varied and nutritious diets, while saving money on groceries. Meanwhile, community kitchens allow workers to access healthful meals on the tea estates.
2020 Women of Tea: Sri Lanka Update
Since the inception of Women of Tea: Sri Lanka two years ago, more than 27,000 people and 6 gardens have benefited from the program’s training and workshops.
- 1200 Organic home gardens established
- 6 Community kitchens established
- 3000 Fruit trees planted
- 16 Field toilets built
- 292 Water, hygiene, and sanitation training classes
- 423 Awareness trainings and cooking demonstrations on balanced diets
- 189 Household financial management workshops
- 18 Breastfeeding stations built
We have witnessed firsthand the impact that these initiatives have had on thousands of Sri Lankan women and their families. Mrs. Krishnaveni, a tea worker at the Pedro Estate, Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka, has inspired us through her journey within the program.
After the launch of Women of Tea: Sri Lanka, Mrs. Krishnaveni participated in a hands-on meal preparation training. With these newly acquired skills, she has upgraded her family’s staple diet of flour and rice to a varied diet of roti (flatbread), pittu (rice flour and coconut dish), soups and other dishes that incorporate vegetables, fruits, eggs and vitamin-rich ingredients.
The changes in her household’s food behavior have spread throughout her local community and empowered other women to make the same changes. As we continue to elevate more women like Mrs. Krishnaveni, we look onward to a ripple effect that will continually bring prosperity to the tea communities of Sri Lanka.