Monday, 11 January 2016

'A Safe Refuge' - Safeguarding Children

            (Leadership, Independence, Futures, and Empowerment) L.I.F.E

December saw the culmination to a month of L.I.F.E Training at a new TEA Project partner in Sri Lanka. We have joined with a dynamic charity that has been working for over 30 years to provide a safe haven for vulnerable young women who have been sexually, physically and mentally abused.  A large number of the girls in their care are pregnant, have learning difficulties or a variety of special needs.

The young girls are vulnerable and abused in their local communities due to a combination of poor education, special needs and a lack of parental care.  A number of the girls have never attended school.

The training was adapted to meet the needs of these young women and was extremely successful. The LIFE Programme finished with a special Christmas party/talent competition to celebrate the wonderful achievements of the girls.

Whilst at the refuge the girls are empowered with business skills to help them create a better future and re-settle back into their communities.  All girls are offered the opportunity of work experience to gain practical skills in a number of micro businesses established by the charity.  The girls learn how to produce and sell items that are sold to assist with their care & development such as beautifully hand-made, re-useable ECO-sanitary towels.  We recently helped the charity get an order for 40 re-useable sanitary towels; the towels enable girls to go to school during menstruation. Without them girls in Sri Lanka will commonly miss school and stay indoors.

The TEA Project is looking forward to continue supporting this very worthy organisation and to working with the strong and inspiring girls they serve.

*In December we learnt of two horrendous rape incidents against children we work with. One child was hospitalised after an attack in her ‘home’, the other survived a consistent 5 day assault by a group of men after being kidnapped from the street. There is a dangerous lack of sexual education and training available to protect vulnerable children in Sri Lanka. We plan to work with an organisation called LEADS in February 16’ to address this.  We are looking to organise a number of Safeguarding Children Training events which will run at local schools for children and professionals such as teachers.  The training will help children understand what is and what isn't acceptable touching and importantly how to report sexual abuse. Adults will learn how to recognise signs of abuse and how to support children and families appropriately. 

All TEA Project workers & staff are unpaid volunteers and our projects completely funded by the public.

We need to raise £300 to run a series of essential Safeguarding Children events facilitated by LEADS.  If you would like to help be a part of making  this happen then please go to There you can make a donation and help protect children from violent sexual abuse.

Thank you.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

'Saving Sangamitha'

30/30 Appeal: Sponsored by Pam Hulse (UK)

The TEA Project recently partnered with a School in the rural suburbs of Kandy. Sangamitha School is a vital educational resource serving some of the lowest income rural communities; the only local educational facility outside of bustling Kandy. Once flourishing Sangamitha has been neglected and allowed to fall into decline both in condition and decreasing student attendance. Previously 100’s of children attended the school, sadly now only a modest handful; much of the unused classroom space has been rented out.

The school is in very real danger of being closed and the building sold off; a disaster for the local community and for the students & staff currently attending. However, the Principals passion and vision to rebuild both the attendance and reclaim lost classroom space inspired us. We felt such passion deserved all the support that we could provide to her teaching staff and the pupils to help ‘Save Sangamitha’. 
The Principle felt that having an International teaching presence at the school would benefit the students and also aid their sporadic attendance; in addition it would encourage parents to re-enrol their children again at Sangamitha as there is a social kudos to sending children to an ‘International School’.  As English was already supported it was decided that   The TEA Project would provide a weekly arts class to support the curriculum, aiding students to an exam qualification; it would also provide us with a forum where The TEA Project could help build the children’s confidence & self-belief, provide art as therapy, re-engage the students interest in learning, expand their global awareness and raise their personal aspirations.

The school partnership aims to:

  • Improve student entrance and attendance levels
  • Provide practical qualifications for students
  • Improve student confidence, their aspirations, capability & personal well-being .
  • Increase awareness towards global issues and social geography
  • Develop technical and recreational creative skills for students & provide training for staff
  • Provide a therapeutic environment where children can relax, express themselves and build confidence within a supportive, non-judgemental, inclusive environment.
  • Help secure the future of the school for the local community
A lot of the students have behavioural issues, lack discipline and find it difficult to concentrate for long periods. We encourage children to take pleasure in ‘the process’ most of all, to not be overly concerned about the end result; this will come naturally in time. Children are taught belief in their abilities, to focus on tasks until they have what they wanted to achieve; if it's 'boring' keep working until it is no longer boring. Don’t give up.

This process is difficult for the children to accept at first after years of rigid discipline. But they adapt and learn to enjoy 'the experience'. Students are shown how to draw & create freely; without over-thinking a more natural and flowing thought process is developed over time.
The Principal of the school commented that before The TEA Project applied our approach students were unruly and unable to sit quietly and concentrate in class. She believes they now have this ability and this is due to the teaching practise applied in The TEA Project classroom. The children have all noticeably developed an aptitude of confidence.

This month a weekly TEA-Yoga Programme will commence at Sangamitha to further empower young students with practical and transferable yoga techniques under the voluntary direction of prolific Sri Lankan Guru Janaka Tennankoon to strengthen them physically, mentally & spiritually.

This week we learned the fantastic news that five new grade one students will be starting this term which secures the immediate future of the school, re-claims one of the lost classrooms and enables the hiring of a new member of staff.

All this is support was possible because of your support to The TEA Project & your 30/30 Appeal donation.

Thank you so much Pam.

Racheal & Carl