Tag me @danu - T.E.A. Project

Jun 14 2023.

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Today I was tagged by this amazing place up in Kandy, where the air is clean, the sunshine is bright and smiles are all real :) The T.E.A. project helps a lot of kids in creating the right foundation. These kids welcomed us all with smiles and warm hearts. Leaving was painful. I sat and spoke to the team about the work they do and more. 

Tell me about The T.E.A. Project.
The T.E.A. Project is a Children’s Rights led INGO in Sri Lanka and a registered UK Charity. Founded by Racheal and Carl living in the UK. 
 
Established in 2014, The T.E.A. Project has donated frontline empowerment training to thousands of children and professionals across the island. The Project is secular and donates services to children from the poorest communities, regardless of cultural or religious background.

Developing skills, aspirations and confidence in young people is key to securing a positive and sustainable future in Sri Lanka & the world. The T.E.A. Project develops ambition, practical skills, knowledge and important opportunities for underprivileged children and their communities. 

The project is working to empower children from poverty living in tea plantations by providing opportunities to realise their aspirations. 
 


Tell me about its location and how it's managed and funded.
The T.E.A. Project's Centre for Children's Empowerment (THE CLOUD) is in Kithulmulla near Galaha town. The Cloud supports disadvantaged children & young people from poor tea plantation communities. They provide a few essential services to the children and community they support:
• Free preschooling in English Medium
• After-school support services
• Free food programme to alleviate malnutrition
• Empowerment training 
• Saturday Service Programme to help adult community members and unemployed youth

How its managed?
A qualified young team manages the project in Sri Lanka with the guidance of the trustee board and the founders. 
 
How it's funded?
The project is funded through their supporting partners, corporates, grants, organising fundraising events, till box collection, online appeal etc. They use a wide range of fundraising strategies to sustain their services. 
 
How can one help and be a part of it?
You can join and support this fantastic cause in many ways:
If you are passionate about helping children and the disadvantaged community:
• As a corporate, you can join as a partner and support through CSR.
• You can support them through financial assistance to run their services.
• Material donations such as stationary, clothes, dry ration to support the food programme, school bags, shoes, IT equipment for the children
• You can donate your time by volunteering. E.g. teaching, fundraising, training the teachers, marketing, bid writing, and organising events.
• You can partner with TEA and support them in many ways. 
• Or introduce the project to potential donors or philanthropists; spread the word to many.
Together we can do a lot more things!
 
You have foreign teams who visit the school. Tell me how that works.
Of course, they would easily join the project to support these amazing young kids. You can contact the CEO through [email protected] to discuss working opportunities. The project always welcomes like-minded people to join and work together. They have an excellent working culture, follow the policies and procedures and are a professional team. 
They also have a team member who coordinates the international volunteers. 
Website: www.theteaproject.org
Email: [email protected]
 
The kids are completely given this opportunity for free. What type of education is provided?
Education is key to breaking the generational poverty cycle. 
• Tiny T.E.A. Preschool- English medium early years education. In 2023, 32 children
• Youth Empowerment Services- Y.E.S. runs during the school term for grade 6 and above children attending our nine local partner schools. Programmes run from 2.45 – 5.00 pm every day after school. 
o English and Sinhala language classes
o Mathematics
o Art classes
o Sports activities- to develop gender equality through engaging more girls in sports.
o They are looking to establish an IT classroom.

How can others get involved?
As I said earlier, if you are passionate about supporting a charity, then the TEA is a wonderful organisation to join because they address the real problem in the community. 
 
You can join as a volunteer, supporter, donor, partner, social media influencer, mentor etc. There are more and more opportunities to join. 
 
Tell me about the team that runs the project.
I know the founders of The T.E.A. Project - Racheal and Carl. They always thought of handing the charity to a young and dynamic team one day. That's what they did when they left the country after establishing the charity and being actively involved in the Sri Lankan operation. 
 
Arun is the CEO who shared the vision with the founders and was a trustee. Tharindu is the Manager of Centre Operations and is responsible for running the services and managing the centre staff. They have a lead preschool teacher and a couple of assistant teachers to run The Tiny T.E.A. Preschool. 

They have a project officer, Youth Empowerment Service Coordinator, full-time volunteers, a Food programme coordinator who makes delicious food for the kids and Christin, International Volunteer Coordinator. 
 
We also have local and international volunteers. A great team!
 
Why the name is TEA?
TEA is an acronym:
TEA stands for Training, Empowerment and Awareness.
 
Training-They trains the children and young people to learn and identify what they can achieve. Not only children but also train teachers and professionals who work with children. 
 
Empower- They aim to empower young people to make a difference, make choices, learn skills and identify their real potential. 
 
Awareness- Awareness educates children and young people that they have rights and are important. They are helping young people to participate actively. 
 
“All children are born with fundamental freedoms, and All human beings have some inherent rights.”
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danu Innasithamby

Danu is a Jaffna Boy with a Marketing qualification (only because he needed to study, and not because he wanted it). He has been a part of the team for seven years and is the face behind Buzz with Danu, and WTF.


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