Monday, 29 February 2016

'Reaching Higher' (Feb-16)

'Reaching Higher'
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.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Art Therapy: Children's Mental Health Week. (8th-14th Feb)

The theme of our weekly arts workshop today was mental health; helping children understand the causes and provide tools to help the management and recovery.
The issue is so common its believed that everyone will have to face a mental health situation in their lives.
So it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of as we all share it. But society wrongly stigmatises people. We are often to ashamed and afraid to seek outside help and to share our burdens. This silence is life threatening. Children are susceptible to the danger but they also hold a key to reversing the stigma; to creating new and positive conversations.
Art therapy is an essential tool for improving mental well being and dealing effectively with mental health issues; especially for those individuals who feel unable to talk or reach out to others for help.
Following a classroom discussion we opened 'the inside out' and took the children outside for a landscape painting session. The positive change to their environment was noticeable as was their improved behavior, concentration levels, relaxed attitude and improved enjoyment. The standard of work they produced today was excellent.
Really proud of this group. Such a privilege to work with young people.
The TEA Project proudly supports positive mental health awareness and promotion. ‪#‎stopthestigma‬

Monday, 1 February 2016

Healthy Children Project Dec/Jan 2015-16

In December The TEA Project was joined by a dynamic group of medical & professional volunteers from the UK and Sri Lanka to deliver The Healthy Children Project (HCP). The plan of the partnership was to run a 5 week programme of events that empowered young people with essential life skills. Subjects addressed Sexual Health, Physical & Mental Abuse, Suicide, Alcohol/Drug Misuse, Puberty, General Health Advice, Positive Relationships, AIDS/HIV, Sexual Abuse, Diet and Dental Hygiene. By the end of the programme HCP had been presented to around 500 people. Here are some of the groups that HCP reached:

Sexual health training to Street children in Kandy.
A presentation on women’s health to Kandyan Street mums.
HCP training to Primary & Secondary School children at a rural International School.
Training to rural women’s groups; workers from Sri Lanka's only Fair-trade Company.
General Health, managing wounds & CPR training to young people from two local government schools; schools which serve children the most at need.

All participants in HCP received a TEA training certificate to mark their achievements and a health pack; several health and safeguarding children leaflets were also freely available. Organisations were presented with first aid boxes.

In addition to the training our UK volunteers organised a residential trip to The Botanical Gardens in Kandy, a Christmas Day Party and a Design Workshop for a group of orphans from a local girl’s home.
Thank you to all the volunteers involved and to the generosity of people from the UK who provided the donations that made the programme possible. 

A special thanks to Elspeth, Jane, Matt & James for your tireless efforts. You ensured the positive impacts of HCP were felt by hundreds of vulnerable young people.

New Project Worker Recruited

The TEA Project is proud to welcome a new member to our team. Sachini began employment as a Project Worker at the beginning of January. She is already proving to be a valuable addition for us and a positive role model to the young people we work for.
Here's what Sachini has to say: