The Tea Plantation Community has numerous problems especially in connection with their time of work, wages, housing, health, education and issues related to citizenship. The houses which are known as “Line rooms” introduced by the colonial planters still remain in barrack type structures with the space of about 200sq ft for an entire family. These rooms are with hardly any ventilation or privacy for grown up children and overcrowding with larger families. Most of those line rooms are more than 100 years old and more than 70% of them are in a dilapidated condition. These line rooms are owned to the estate and can be occupied by the plantation workers as long as they stay in the Estate.
Caritas Kandy – SETIK the social arm of the Catholic Church in the central province is working to uplift the poor rural and tea plantation community for the last 50 years. As an organization, we have been rendering our services to promote the livelihood of the tea plantation community and for their rights and privileges.
The International Tea Day has been observed since 2005 in many tea producing countries in Asia and Africa and 15th December was declared as the International Tea Day. The first International Tea Day was celebrated in India in 2005 and the organizations like ours began to mark this day since 2006.
The Tea Plantation workers in our working fields celebrated the International Tea Day on 13th Dec 2014 in Matale. The day programme commenced with the peaceful demonstration of demanding sufficient wages and decent living condition and then followed with a public meeting.
SETIK works hand in hand with the organizations and intellectuals to identify and analyses the crucial issues and problems of Tea Plantation Community in Sri Lanka and this year we focused on the issues of sufficient wages and decent living condition for them and prepared a document on these issues with clear recommendations. This document was handed over to Rev. Fr. Desmond Perera, Director, Caritas Kandy SETIK by Prof; S. Vijesandiran, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Peradeniya , who took the initiative of preparing the document. This would be sent to the respective authorities for immediate action.