Fairtrade Story: Dodda Mahalingam

Fairtrade Story: Dodda Mahalingam

Dodda Mahalingam Korakundah

Smiling broadly and chatting as she clicks her shears over the tea bushes, Dodda is a tea plucker at Korakundah, part of The United Nilgiri Tea Estates Co. Ltd.

Dodda was born, and has lived her whole life, on Korakundah. Her parents lived and worked on the estate until they retired. Dodda got married here, and she says will work here until she retires. Her husband also works on the estate in one of the management bungalows.

They receive a pension fund from the Fairtrade Premium. When they retire and leave the estate they plan to use part of this money to build a home.

Korakundah Tea Estate
Tea growing Dunsandle Estate

We can only hope but we don’t know the future, but what we have saved… we can hope to lead a fairly decent life post retirement.

Dodda Mahalingam

Dodda received no formal education as she did not attend school. She says there was a school on the estate but it was not compulsory.

Her sons, now aged 20 and 23, attended the primary school in Korakundah. There is no secondary school on the estate so they completed their secondary education off the estate at the Chamraj School and boarded in the hostel on site (part-funded by Fairtrade Premium). Both sons are now in college, one is studying to be a chartered accountant and the other is studying an IT course. The Fairtrade Premium has made this possible, through funding their bursaries. Dodda is clear that these educational opportunities have been of great benefit to her family.

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