Friday, 30 December 2016

The TEA Project - 'Building Charity - A Year in Review' (2016)

Just click on this written Facebook link or copy & paste it into your address bar.

''Over the past 12 months the media has sold us fear and division.
The TEA Project promotes the values of hope & unity.
We are a small team achieving big things. With your support we will continue to grow and build on what we have achieved in 2016; creating more & more positive outcomes for vulnerable children living in poverty.

There is so much need in the world, it's difficult to know where a donation will be most effective. We understand this. All that we can say is that a donation to The TEA Project effects real and positive change for the future.
Resolve to join with us in 2017 to empower that change.

Thank you to all the people who decided to become a part of the project in 2016. Happy new year from everyone at The TEA Project. Enjoy our year in review''.

'Only you make The TEA Project possible'.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

'My Train to Train'
(A VolunTEAr's Story - TEAcher Training in Sri Lanka)
Nicola Walsh - Senior UK School Inspector.

''I arrived in the North very early in the morning after a long journey; i was collected from the station and driven to a local girl's orphanage where i would be staying.
After a brief sleep from 4 am to 6 am I set off to visit the school.
I was met by the Principal; who, much to my surprise, had invited a wide selection of children and parents to see me.
As I entered the room I was greeted by a sea of expectant faces. There were children with varying requirements and abilities including deaf children and children with downs syndrome. Young people with very clear and specific special needs.
Within a 10 minute interview slot I performed an observation with each child to ascertain language skills and clapping rhythms to assess coordination and numeracy.
With the support of a local TEA translator we gave every child and parent a simple task to focus on as a result of the 1:1 interview.
To my amazement we identified a child who could not see. The boy was 7 and had only been in school 3 months. His vision was seriously impaired and the parent had not identified this; only saying he stays on his own, stays in etc. With dialogue and a few basic sight tests we advised to take the child to an optician; basic but true.
We explained to the teacher of a deaf child to concentrate on pictures and communicating in other ways. The child was intelligent and could do things expected of a similar child of the same age but needed the correct medium to be able to express this.
And so the day progressed, offering what seemed to be basic advice; easily understood I thought from my ‘Western’ perspective but which was a whole new world to the teachers and parents in this region.
I presented a document used extensively in the UK to monitor a child’s development from 0-5 years old which can be easily used to measure the stage of the child’s development in every aspect.
I shared this with teachers and they were given a hard copy in English.
Teachers were extremely responsive.
On my second day we looked at language and literacy and I showed them how sounds are represented as graphemes. Getting children to listen to sounds and to be able to represent them as graphemes is crucial in literacy development.
By this time the electricity had cut yet again and the temp was 30+. Time to finish.
All the teachers went away happy and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
I cautioned teachers to be aware of children who are sent to them with special needs. Differentiating tasks to suit the needs of each child is not advocated in the Sri Lankan curriculum. Teachers routinely repeat from the text book with little understanding or desire to know how well the children are appreciating the concepts.
I really enjoyed the experience and look forward to returning again as a volunTEAr''.
If you would like to volunTEAr your professional skills or make a donation to support The TEA Project volunTEAr network then please visit our website.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Pen-Ship Pals

One of the first programmes Racheal and i set up on arriving to Sri Lanka was 'Penship-Pals'. Letter writing is an increasingly lost art these days. It's such a simple and effective way of connecting young people, educating & informing themselves about the richness of diversity and the similarities that unite us. Forging friendships, sometimes life long, across the invisible divide. Do you remember that feeling when the postman delivered something especially for you? We still continue the programme today, almost 3 years later, with partnerships between schools in the UK & SL.

Children in SL wrote that they hadn't a clue about Easter or Easter Eggs, about not owning bikes and that in Sri Lanka children very rarely own animals as pets like children commonly do in the UK. Dogs & cats mostly roam wild. SL is a predominantly Buddhist country; animals are respected to wander freely without capture or maltreatment.

The academic year runs from January to December so writing letters to their UK Pen pals through the school partnership programme was a real treat on the last day of term. In the new year when UK children return to school they will receive a pile of letters and beautiful pictures from their school friends in Sri Lanka; bringing that special feeling back to life.

#safetea #theteaproject #theteap

This Christmas The TEA Project has launched the 'SAFE-TEA FIRST APPEAL'.
Can you spare one minute to read about Nimal? Simply click on the link:
You can help change his story. What better present could you give a child?
We hope you make a resolution this year to join with us to help protect thousands of children from abuse in 2017 by donating to our SAFE-TEA FIRST APPEAL.
In January 2017 The TEA Project is embarking on a month of safeguarding training across Sri Lanka with the help of experienced Child Protection professionals from the UK. Our hope is to fund this month of essential SAFE-TEA training and extend it throughout the whole of 2017. Our appeal target is £1,000.
'SAFE-TEA training can change the rest of a child's life. One year of training can change thousands of vulnerable children's lives forever'.
*Christmas is a time for giving. Everyone has a cause that is special to them and we appreciate everybody's personal circumstances are different. We are making our appeal to try and support some of the most vulnerable children in society. In our attempt we do not overlook the needs of others. If you cannot support our appeal then we fully respect that decision. We hope that you can help spread awareness to our campaign. Thank you & Merry Christmas.
Carl Gale - Director
The TEA Project - UK Charity 1163485

The Lighthouse Church

We would like to thank The Lighthouse Church in Kandy for inviting The TEA Project to speak to the Sunday congregation.
The Reverend kindly accepted a 'TEA-box' which will be permanently situated at the church to accept donations for the project.
Thank you to everyone for making us feel welcome, for your kind donations and offers of voluntary support.
If you know of an organisation that would like to place one our TEA-boxes and support our programmes with vulnerable children then please email us at

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Fast & Furious Awards

The TEA Project awarded certificates of excellence and an early Christmas present to 69 students who attended our after school debate club this term.
The ceremony marks the end of the government school year in Sri Lanka and the awards recognise the considerable effort and achievements the children have put into their self titled 'Fast & Furious' (F&F) clubs.
Next term the Principle intends to enter F&F into a regional inter-school debate competition.
We are very proud of all the students and we're happy to have been given the opportunity to recognise their input. Extracurricular programmes provided by The TEA Project are vitally important in developing students confidence, pride & self belief in their abilities.

Friday, 11 November 2016


Today students listened to a comprehensive collection of their chosen SPARKS (happy sound memories) at the start of the school day.
Next week The TEA Project will replace morning registration with a 'sound-register'. Students names will be replaced by an individual SPARK; chosen by each child from todays session. The SPARK relates to a 'happy feeling' they recall.
The TEA Project is supporting LIFE ECHO's research into sound and how sound memories (or ECHOES) can be used to improve the well being of young people.
Students will record information on their feelings before & after SPARK registers to monitor changes in well being. This data will be used to support information into this revolutionary life therapy.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Public Speaking & Presentational Skill Training

Through September to November The TEA Project ran a term plan related to improving public speaking and presentation skills at a partner school in the Central province. Training was led by our local Project Worker and supported by a volunteer student intern on placement with the project complimenting her psychology studies at a local University.
Children can commonly lack confidence or over compensate with bravado. Often symptoms of a negative home life or lack of educative support or personal belief. Our sessions include directions on effective communication with a lot of practical presentation. Students watch videos of their presentations and compare them to footage of recognised public speakers from Sri Lankan culture.
Children were instructed on effective presentation techniques; for example behaviour management and volume control. With practice & encouragement the children all reached a high level of improvement in their public speaking and presentation ability.
The Principal commented that the students appeared more confident and willing to step forward in school programmes & classes.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Celebrating Children!

The TEA Project has established yet another school partnership in the Central province which expands our services to another 200 children.
We decided to recognise this occasion & mark Children's Day by celebrating with the amazing children we have been given the opportunity to work for.
Pupils broke free of their dark classrooms to take part in a sunlit morning of fun, games & laughter. TEA donated food, drinks and valuable stationary to each & every child on the day.
For a few hours total focus was put on making these wonderful children feel appreciated & cared for; to help them understand that they are unique & capable individuals.
The TEA Project provides all of it's services & materials for free.
We are a small charity doing some big work. We are desperately in need of donations to ensure the empowering services we provide to the most vulnerable children is continued.
If you connect with our vision and would like to make a financial, material or professional donation then please get in contact or inbox us here on Facebook. Alternatively send an email direct to
We cannot continue the work we do without your essential support.
Please donate to empowering children from poverty.
Thank you.

LIFE ECHO/SPARK: Introduction to Students (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lankan school children partnering in the groundbreaking 'SPARK' research project with children form the UK were introduced to the programme by Carl from The TEA Project. The TEA Project was invited by LIFE ECHO to help investigate the relationship between personal sound memories (Sparks) & the positive enhancement of well being among the students.
In the coming weeks we will be gathering personal sound memories from the students which we plan to play in registration; replacing the calling out of names. We will then record the mood of the young participants over time to see if there are any noticeable changes in well being.


One of the ways we celebrated Sri Lankan Children's Day this year was to provide the internet to a worthy partner school on Sri Lanka's struggling East Coast.
For the first time in their lives, starting this month, school children will have regular access to the world wide web & learning resources from around the world. They can become global citizens and more importantly be encouraged back into school where daily absenteeism currently lies at 40-50%.
We work tirelessly @ The TEA Project to do amazing work on the very smallest of budgets.
We desperately need donations to continue the support & advocacy we provide to the most vulnerable young people in our society.
Please donate via You can transform lives & help children lift themselves out of poverty and end their cycle of abuse.
PLEASE visit and donate today.
@theteap @theteaproject
Just follow the link.....
Thank you.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

LIFE Training on the East Coast (September 16th to 18th 2016)

Leadership, Independence, Futures & Empowerment (LIFE)
28 children from a partner school on Sri Lanka's East Coast participated in LIFE training over one and a half days.
''They really gave attention to tasks and focused on finishing as a leader in the school'' - Sachini (Project Worker).
In goal setting Prefects focused on school improvements; for example replacing their usual daily lunch packets (rice & curry) with more home prepared & varied lunch boxes. Primary children concentrated on personal goal setting and became more confident in challenging older children in their presentations. Elders were noticeably more shy than primary children.
All the children engaged well. Prefects and primary children grew in confidence, displayed leadership abilities and developed a voice to talk about their rights as children.
Please share our posts & raise awareness to the work of The TEA Project & find out more at

Sunday, 2 October 2016


TEA would like to say a very big thank you to VolunTEAr Clare for her amazing week with the project. 
She has enthusiastically shared her rich knowledge of front line teaching from the UK to help develop services and lead teaching at 3 schools in her brief time here.
If you are a professional like Clare, identify with TEA's vision & feel you might like to donate your services then please get in touch via

Monday, 26 September 2016

LIFE Training on the West Coast (20th & 27th August 2016)

A Project Worker & Professional VolunTEAr from The TEA Project recently traveled to a partner school in SL's Western Province to hold our LIFE Programme (Leadership - Independence - Futures & Empowerment) with a group of Prefects. The aim was to help them realise their future goals and aspirations.

As is common, on day 1, children were initially shy but by day 2 had grown in confidence with support & guidance through the LIFE Programme by our expert TEAm. There were lots of group activities & presentations to help children fuel their personalities; and for the first time in there lives they were made aware of their rights as children.

At the end of training it's a requirement to set personal goals & pledge a commitment to realising them. A collective plan to create a 'Vegetable Garden' mini-enterprise was initiated to inject some fun and self reliance into the school. Also Prefects highlighted a need to assist in improving discipline & appearance at the school and will take an active part in managing assemblies. On a personal level the children all recognised the importance of attaining high grades and focused on reaching University. They all identify a good education as the most effective and sustainable method of improving their lives, the lives of their families & communities.

Read more about the empowering work of The TEA Project

TEA Internships

The TEA Project is very happy to welcome two new interns to the project. Both are in their 4th & final year of psychology studies at a nationally renowned, local, University. Both students will gain 6 months experience of direct work & project planning; a research project on the effectiveness of TEA's 'L.I.F.E Training Programme' on a study group of 125 students & staff from a school supported by the project will also be completed.
If you think you can support the work of The TEA Project with vulnerable children then please get in contact via our website

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Empowering Mannar Girls

In August TEA's Director Racheal and Project Worker Sachini traveled to Mannar Island to stay with a girls orphanage that TEA supports for 3 days & nights empowerment training and workshops.

They arrived after a long 10 hour journey from Kandy rather exhausted; carrying training resources and donations including clothes & sanitary towels.

Mannar Island is located in the Northern Province approximately 100 km from the Northern capital of Jaffna.  The people of Mannar are predominantly Tamil. Mannar was heavily affected by the recent civil war and the loss of life in this region was tragically high. The region suffers high rates of poverty and many families are headed by single women due to mortality rates of husbands during the conflict. 

We ran a 2-day leadership programme with 25 teenage girls.  The girls learnt leadership skills, identified personal goals, learnt about children's rights principles and reviewed how to apply learning from the programme to help their future plans and aspirations.

The girls are so colourful and had such a lust for dancing. Each evening we ran creative arts workshops & talent shows before the communal dinner of rice and curry.

The girls inspired us everyday and helped us to adapt the training to cater to the their calls for performance.

Training was delivered in English and translated into Tamil.    We now have L.I.F.E translated into English, Sinhala and Tamil - good practice for future training.

On our first day we received a surprise visit from the Probation Department to observe training. The TEA Project was subsequently invited to return and run our L.I.F.E programme with 5 additional orphanages under her management. 
Representatives also arrived from the Local Lions Club. Impressed with the programme they offered to contribute to The TEA Project's training costs in Mannar.

Training was a huge success. We made new partners & friends and the girl's excelled in training. The TEA Project has promised to return to the girls orphanage to run a Girls Independence Programme in the future and we plan to return in December to run a tailor made leadership programme for a local boys orphanage.

If you would like to find out more about the work we do or contribute to The TEA Project then visit

Monday, 12 September 2016


The TEA Project is excited to announce an innovative partnership with groundbreaking UK research programme 'LIFE ECHO'. 

LIFE ECHO/SPARK will set out to map the impact on learning, behavior and mindfulness that personalised sound triggers have in educational situations. 



Life Echo is an art based enquiry of sound and memory by artist Justin Wiggan (UK).    

Life Echo is the provision of a personal phonic map created from memory trigger points, sentimental two dimensional / three dimensional objects and nostalgic recall from individuals. 

Life Echo is a therapeutic sound narrative experience based on shared memory.

A Life Echo is a safe, shared, deep listening space.

Life Echo will attempt to change how we interact with our own memories.

Life Echo has the potential to become a provision of service in ground breaking creative care. 

This partnership research project will engage in education and behavior – to monitor the impact on individual focus and improved learning in schools, positive behaviorist change and conscious reflection.

LIFE ECHO/SPARK will focus on gathering new data with children of from a Sri Lankan government school supported by TEA & Year 4 students from a UK School in Cotteridge.


Based on a recent observation of a case study in UK it was noted that the Life Echo Process had substantial positive effects on a school pupil with ME. The pupil had a 30 minute Life Echo "interview" carried out before going to school; (*the pupils attendance at school was part time and erratic in terms of concentration and delivery). After wards both teacher and parents noted a dedicated focus and engagement. LIFE ECHO has also shown signs of improving well being in elderly dementia suffers.

Over the oncoming weeks & months we will be reporting back & posting our adventures about The LIFE ECHO process.

Thursday, 8 September 2016


"Hi Everyone!"

I'm Sachini. I am a Project Worker at The TEA Project.

Following a suggestion from the Principal of a local school supported by TEA i developed a plan to make a debate team. Secondary children participate in these sessions which started in June. 

I use techniques such as voice management. Students are split into two groups and give a talk according to a chosen topic. 

In the first session some of the children were a little bit shy to talk in front of others; I saw they were sweating, trembling, having some tears in eyes and couldn't talk properly. Therefore I practiced with them to talk for one minute about any topic. 

I focused support on them and allow children to think nothing is impossible.The sessions have been a great success. All of the children are very keen on debating and try to find debate topics. 

Some students from a nearby orphanage who attend the school debating club recently took part in an Inter-Orphanage Debate Competition. Children from 36 orphanages within the Central Province of Sri Lanka represented their respective homes.

I am proud to announce that these students from the school's 'Fast & Furious' debate team' came 1st place; winning the competition.

Congratulations to all the children on your empowering achievement from everybody @ The TEA Project; we are very proud of you. 

I am looking forward to more exciting debates in the new term.


Thursday, 4 August 2016


In March this year The TEA Project regenerated an unused classroom space at a rural school in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Only a few months on and we are happy to see 'The HUB' (*named by the students) is being fully utilised & embraced by both children & staff. The HUB is now a designated space for English learning and a dynamic communal area for students interactive & creative learning. The school is planning more developments to further improve The HUB in the near future. Today we received some positive feedback from pupils about what they think of 'The HUB'.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Strength Through Partnership

Today we spent time meeting some of the fantastic local businesses around Kandy, in the Central Province, who have recently pledged their support to the project and joined our fight to empower vulnerable children from poverty.
Our new TEA-boxes are popping up everywhere from ice cream parlours to hostels, patisseries to tattoo parlours ready to accept donations around the city & importantly to raise awareness.
Thanks to Backpack Lanka TEA-boxes will soon be visible to travellers & potential volunteers visiting the islands capital of Colombo on the West Coast, Nuwara Eliya in the Highlands & the surf capital of Arugam Bay on the West Coast as well as Kandy in Central.

All the donations raised from our TEA-boxes will go to funding essential projects in Sri Lanka.
We are always looking for new & dynamic partners.
If you are inspired by what you see & want to get involved then share our news, drop us a line to and join 'the fight'.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

International Charity Day

To celebrate International Charity Day The TEA Project has been granted permission to climb Sri Lanka's highest peak, Mount Pedro, on Saturday 3rd September 2016 to raise essential funding for projects in Sri Lanka with vulnerable children.
If you would like to join us, take on a challenge and get sponsored then contact to register your interest for this unique event. Or maybe you want to support us by sponsoring someone attending the event. The whole trip will start & finish in Kandy and take one day. All comers welcome, young & old, as long as you are relatively fit, willing & able. You must be able to provide your own transport to Nuwara Eliya by train, bus or car on the day.
Follow the link to see more details, to make donations and raise sponsorship. Thank you.