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Empowering Workers in Sri Lanka

Twinings is empowering communities in tea gardens in Sri Lanka by creating dialogue with management and new income opportunities.

Twinings and CARE International have been working together since 2017, to establish Community Development Forums (CDFs) on tea estates in Sri Lanka.

CDFs are an open space for sharing and debates, providing new communication channels between workers, management, trade unions and the broader community. This enables collective decisions about community development priorities and transparent negotiations on working conditions.

Ruvani, is a 24 year old woman who works on a casual basis on one of the tea gardens. In order to help her start her own business, she applied for, and was selected by the CDF for, a micro loan (approx. £65 at 0% interest rate). Like many other tea workers in Sri Lanka, Ruvani does not have an identity card to apply a loan from the formal financial institutions.

With this money, Ruvani started a food business with her husband, where she sells snacks and tea.

“I am very happy I have received this loan and training to manage my business, I am now more confident and hope to grow my business in the future”

Ruvani also received training through the CDF on financial management and record keeping, leadership and communication, problem solving and decision making.

“That was the first time I have ever attended a training in my life time. These trainings gave me understanding on accounting, profit and loss, record keeping, and I am sure will be very helpful to operate our small business … it has also boosted my self-confidence …”

Thanks to her newly acquired knowledge and self-confidence, Ruvani now plans to apply for her national identity card. This will enable her to access formal banking institutions and crucial government services.

By providing the right tools, guidance and knowledge, to people like Ruvani, the project empowers tea communities to build a better future for themselves through more attractive and fairer working conditions or access to diversified sources of income. So far, we have been working on 7 tea gardens in Sri Lanka, impacting a population of over 25,000 people.

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