This month The TEA Project headed North to Jaffna in a bid to secure and assist new rural partners.
As recently as 2 years ago our trip to the predominantly Tamil populated Northern Province wouldn't have been possible because of travel restrictions placed on foreign nationals since the end of the civil war in 2009. Danger from landmines by road and damage to the railway also massively hindered any movement.
Since the re-opening of the Railway in 2014 and the relaxing of restricted travel conditions last year we have been looking for an opportunity to head North. The TEA Project is moving to ambitiously extend our reach. We currently support Sri Lanka's Central Province from Kandy and are looking to incorporate the Eastern, West & Northern Provinces of the Island as well.
We arrived in Jaffna by train then journeyed by road to Mannar Island on the remote West coast. The area existed deep inside LTTE controlled territory for much of the Islands recent troubles and still feels the negative effects from war and poverty. Here we have found and partnered with a College and a local girl's orphanage. All of the 75 girls from the home attend the College of 1,400 students; orphaned after losing parents and family to war. The school is a vital part of the area and a rare gateway of hope & opportunity for the local children.
The TEA Project plans to return later this year with a group of professional volunteers to run a programme of Youth Empowerment workshops, L.I.F.E Training and provide essential educational materials.