To improve opportuniTEAs for vulnerable children through training, empowerment and awareness programmes that stimulate learning, develop prospects and increase life chances. We work to ensure that all children are safe, happy and healthy.
All children are empowered to participate in the realisation of their rights and achieve the maximum potential in life without discrimination.
To help realise this vision and achieve our mission The T.EA. Project developed Sri Lanka’s first dedicated Centre for Children’s Empowerment – The Cloud.
Who are T.E.A?
The T.E.A. Project (Training, Empowerment & Awareness) – a Children’s Rights led INGO in Sri Lanka and registered UK Charity.
Where are we?
The Cloud – Centre for Children’s Empowerment in Hanthana; nr Kandy.
What do we do?
Provide skills & raise aspirations of vulnerable children living in poverty.
What we believe?
“Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people of today. They have a right to be taken seriously, and to be treated with tenderness and respect. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be. 'The unknown person' inside of them is our hope for the future.” To achieve this we believe every child should be @E.A.S.E.
What is @E.A.S.E?
Education - Art - Sport - Environment. ‘Every Child Should be at E.A.S.E’. This is a core principle we work by…. ‘Being at ease with yourself puts you at ease with the world. Being yourself will be your greatest joy’.
Education: Tiny T.E.A. Preschool, Youth Empowerment Service & Empowerment Training.
ArTEA: Every child is an artist & every child can create art.
SporTEA - Healthy soul in a healthy body (*ASICS). Sound mind, sound body.
Environment – Essential to life & sustainable well-being.
F.O.O.D ProgrammeT.E.A. believes in Fuelling OpportuniTEAs & Outcomes with Diet. Without a healthy diet children are unable to fully achieve their potential and be @E.A.S.E. This is why we provide a free, daily food programme for children, our TEAm & VolunTEArs.
The T.E.A. Project works to empower Sri Lankan children from poverty. The project provides free pre-schooling, empowerment training, after school support programmes, a daily F.O.O.D. (Fueling, OpportuniTEAs, Outcome, and Diet) Programme and a Saturday Service Programme for adult communiTEA members and unemployed youth; from The Cloud - a visionary Children’s Empowerment Centre in Kithulmulla, Hanthana. The T.E.A. Project Centre for Children’s Empowerment supports disadvantaged children & young people from poor tea plantation communiTEAs. Extending support to children nationally and grassroots NGO’s, education service providers, orphanages and government schools. The T.E.A. Project develops ambition, practical skills, knowledge and important opportuniTEAs for underprivileged children and their communiTEAs. Developing skills, aspirations and confidence in young people is key to securing a positive and sustainable future in Sri Lanka & the world. Established in 2014, The T.E.A. Project has donated front line empowerment training to thousands of children and professionals across the island. The Project is secular and donates services to children from the poorest communiTEAs; regardless of cultural or religious background.
Below are key services delivered from The Cloud.
Tiny T.E.A. is an English medium preschool that provides free early childhood education and a healthy snack for children whose parents are working on tea estates as tea pickers or daily paid labourers. Children acquire vital skills that allow them to listen to others and express their own ideas, make friends, share, cooperate, and become accountable for their actions. The preschool aims to increase performance at (Grade 1) primary school and to build a strong foundation of children’s physical, mental, emotional, and social development that will prepare them for a lifetime. It also motivates children for lifelong learning and helps children manage challenges and build resilience in times of difficulty; settle easily at school to reap the benefits of education faster and acquire a long-term interest in learning different things. Including playing music, dancing, singing, reading, gardening, art and cooking. Children’s holistic health is improved, social and emotional needs of children are considered and nutrition levels of children met through healthy snack provision.
The Preschool is run from a contemporary, purpose built, large, bright and open space; there is ample outdoor play area and a designated play-ground. The service is delivered by two locally recruited TEAchers. Every day one local volunTEAr supports TEAchers and our dedicated VolunTEAr accommodation can support numerous international volunTEArs who help interact, share skills and speak in English with our children.
Our ParenTEAr Programme is aimed at helping parents ‘give back’ toward their child’s education; who receive a free Preschool service. The support of Tiny T.E.A. parents in maintenance of The Cloud ensures The Centre and grounds are safe/child friendly; and the parents importantly feel an active supporting role in their child’s education. One parent of each Tiny T.E.A. child is required to work two days to cover a minimum of 5 hours voluntary work per month. ParenTEArs cover three areas:
- The Centre, Preschool & office cleaning
- Outdoor Centre maintenance
- Working in the kitchen helping with the F.O.O.D. Programme
ParenTEArs also attend our quarterly Shramadana campaigns where all parenTEArs work together with all volunTEArs and staff in order to maintain the quality of standards and improve the beauty of The Cloud. An award system is in place to make ParenTEArs feel motivated and valued.
The F.O.O.D programme is organised to provide a free, nutritious daily vegetarian diet for over 100 registered children who attend our Y.E.S. (Youth Empowerment Service) after-school programme. We believe improving health will raise a child’s ability to study and perform well; it increases memory power and faster information processing. All children who participate in the after school programme receive a freshly cooked meal when they arrive to The Cloud from school. The F.O.O.D. Programme runs from 1.30 pm until 2.45 pm (We are flexible with the time, some days we run the F.O.O.D. programme until 3.00 pm because children get delayed due to long school hours). Nutrition levels of school children are improving, participation in afterschool learning is increased and the financial burden for parents is relieved.
Y.E.S. runs during the school term time for grade 6 and above children who attend our nine local partner schools. Programmes run from 2.45 – 5.00 pm every day after school.
Y.E.S. aims to develop practical skills, language skills and improve the academic achievement of children through tuition classes, vocational and empowerment programmes and after school clubs. Local and international volunTEAr programmes bring different experiences and knowledge to young people to help them identify their full potential. A range of aesthetic and creative projects help children develop soft skills and discover new interests.
T.E.A. have standards and criteria that we expect from all our TEAchers and Trainers when delivering programmes and TEAching at The Cloud. All the TEAm – employees, TEAchers, trainers, volunTEArs engaging with young service users follow set standards. We have developed guidance for trainers that we expect them to follow every day in sessions.
Y.E.S. is closed during school holidays and on public holidays during the school term time but children are invited for one off training, social events, camps, etc. T.E.A. also holds outreach programmes at Tea Estate Child Development Centres.
WOW provides a platform for young people who access Y.E.S. to experience the work environment of a children’s rights-led, non-profit organisation and get involved in its daily activities. They have a supervisor who meets with them and other work experience colleagues on a weekly basis. They work with different TEAms and workers. They experience office work, project work, working in the pre-school and the kitchen. They are given a work plan covering the areas below.
- Project work
- Admin. support
- Kitchen support
- Pre-school support
- Outdoor/environmental projects
- Other tasks: Children meet with a range of international and local volunTEArs. They may be asked to help arrange plans for volunTEArs.
We have a quiet library-study space which consists of donated books (educational, stories, languages, entertainment, workbooks, etc) in Sinhala, English and Tamil languages. Young people come and do their school home-work; and read books. Also this space is used for a listening service where the TEAm and service users are provided with therapeutic sessions of wellbeing programmes. This is also a place where we conduct our ICT Training/ workshops. In addition, if a child is sick, we will ask him/ her to wait there until they are collected by a parent.
The T.E.A. Youth Board was formed in November 2019. YB is a group of young people aged 15 -24 years from three supported communiTEAs. They assist T.E.A. with their ideas and suggestions for the development of The Cloud and our services. This creates a platform for young people to showcase themselves, to exercise their freedom of speech, ideas and opinions, to improve their personal qualities and to create awareness on Children’s rights. They organize programmes and activiTEAs to develop their skills and abiliTEAs to become an active YB member and enhance their future career. The YB is involved in event planning and recruitment of staff as an opportunity to develop their skills. We have a calendar of events at The Cloud to celebrate international days. The T.E.A. Project anniversary and other celebrations, cultural and religious festival celebrations like Thai Pongal, New Year and Christmas; where Youth Board members plan and organise with the TEAm and children.
This is an Adult Steering Group made up of communiTEA leaders and key stakeholders. We hold monthly meetings to discuss development of The Cloud – Centre for Children’s Empowerment, and provide advice on our ‘Saturday Service’ Programme. The group offers their experience and their local and technical knowledge to ensure The Cloud fully implements its vision and objectives. Our sTEArs increase use of The Cloud, help to promote services and increase communiTEA participation of local stakeholders in strategic Centre planning. We believe that it is essential to listen to the communiTEA and stakeholders.
- This group has a superior knowledge of local needs. Participation of children and stakeholders is a key priority of The T.E.A. Project.
- Since 2019 The T.E.A. Project has had a Youth Board; we must promote listening to the views of youth and adult stakeholders.
- This group will help develop the capacity of the local community and increase ownership of The Centre and its services.
Stakeholders and communiTEA representatives are men and women from all local communiTEAs supported by The Cloud. Members represent all religious groups and ethnic groups and are balanced in gender. Members come from the following areas and sectors:
- The Estate Sector
- Local leaders
- Local schools (Education Department)
- Project Manager
- Local partners
- Health Ministry (MOH office)
- Local business owners
- Dunali, Upper and Lowe Kithulmulla, Upper Galaha village leaders
Saturday Service was developed for TEAchers, young adults and communiTEA members; to provide information/guidance, training opportuniTEAs and a communiTEA meeting forum to support TEAching skills and communiTEA development. Saturday Service provision is coordinated with the support of sTEArs and services are provided by working in partnership with local GO, multi-agency civil organisations and local volunTEArs. A key function of the Saturday Service is to coordinate vocational training programmes and income generating opportuniTEAs. The service runs two days each month at the initial stage and will be developed based on the accessibility of resources. The sTEArs are experts in their relevant fields; T.E.A. Project TEAchers and Trainers, local partner organisations, government officials, International and local volunTEArs, health sector professionals will deliver programmes and activiTEAs.