Creating opportunities and providing a bright future for the children of the tea workers is of utmost importance to the communities of Welbeck, Dunsandle and United Nilgiri. That’s why the Fairtrade Premium Committees and company management have invested so much in education.
These Fairtrade Premium projects are contributing towards shifts in educational and employment opportunities for the children of tea workers. They are also helping workers save on costs, helping children to grow in confidence, supporting migrant populations to feel settled and providing security and a great deal of happiness to the families who live and work on the estates.
“We don’t want our children to have the same hard work that we are doing, plucking. We want them to study and have a good future…”
The three estates all have a bursary scheme, funded half by the company and half by Fairtrade Premium, and pay for higher education courses for workers’ children, with a number of young people benefiting. The bursary schemes, supported by all three Fairtrade Premium Committees, help to generate educational and work opportunities that may otherwise be impossible.
Fairtrade Premium has been used by Premium Committees at United Nilgiri and Welbeck to fund free school buses to take the children to and from school. This saves workers money on transport costs and means that children in more remote locations are able to get to school.
The school buses pick the children up from their homes and drop them right outside the school, ensuring they are safe. At United Nilgiri two school buses have been purchased and their running costs are met under this project. Welbeck have also bought two from Fairtrade Premium funds.
“They are being taken to school and back safely so that I can work comfortably without any worries.”
The Tamil Nadu state government provides the resources for a basic lunchtime meal (rice/grains/dahl) for each of the schoolchildren. Dr Oamprakash10 at the Rockland hospital at Chamraj confirmed that one of the biggest causes of poor health in workers and their families is malnutrition, which can cause weakness and lead to further illness. Each of the three Fairtrade Premium Committees runs a project that supplements the government provisions by funding chicken, fish, eggs and vegetables for the children’s school meals. These extras are a vital addition to the children’s diet.