What can a dollar get you? A bag of pretzels in a vending machine? A fruit parfait on the McDonald’s Dollar Menu? Maybe an hour on a parking meter? But think about this. What if you had to live off that dollar for an entire day? As impossible as that may sound, over 80 percent of children in this Community Education Project in central Sri Lanka live on less than US$1 every day, the UN indicator of extreme poverty.
In the tea-growing regions of Sri Lanka, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and suicide run high. The only way for children to escape this cycle of mistreatment and injustice is to get jobs outside the tea plantations, which require fluency in English. However, bias against Indian Tamils has the government deliberately denying them educational opportunities in order to maintain a dependent workforce. Even more so, the local government English teachers failed English themselves. The situation in these rural regions is a deficiency of both quantity and quality of education.
With this Tea Leaf Trust-sponsored project, young men and women aged 18 to 24 are trained by the Tea Leaf Trust Main Diploma programme to teach the poorest children in their communities, in the process empowering these young adults not only through education but to also be leaders in Sri Lanka. Here is a run through of how the structure of the project goes:
Term One: the students of the main diploma are trained in basic teaching methods and sit an exam to determine if they are of the right standard to teach the CEP (Community Education Project).
Term Two: The children are registered and sit a placement test to determine their level. Classes begin, taught by student-teachers, managed by interns from the 2nd year diploma and monitored by the Tea Leaf Trust staff team.
Term Three: Classes continue from a specifically designed course booklet, there is a final exam when the booklet is finished and an award ceremony for the children.
Over 700 children and 80 student-teachers can benefit from this project. Following the Thanksgiving festivities and Black Friday, in the spirit of giving, please look into giving to the Tea Lead Trust Vision fund and give these children a chance to escape poverty with the help your education and your generosity!
Stephany Yong's Blog
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