The annual SETIK staff get-together was held on 20th December 2014 at SETIK auditorium with the participation of all the staff members. There were numbers of entertainment activities such as singing, dancing and completion etc. The get-together was ended with sharing of Christmas gifts among the staff members.
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.
International Human Rights Day 2014 was celebrated on 10th Dec; 2014 at SETIK auditorium with a special programme focusing on the theme of “Promotes awareness of human rights issues around the world and highlights the efforts of the United Nations to improve global human rights conductions”.
130 people including youth, women and adults from the fields where we are working in and other segments such as NGOs and government institutions attended the programme.
The International Migrants Day is placed on 18th December and Caritas Kandy- SETIK marked this day with a series of events on 07th Dec; 2014 in Hatton. The programme of the day commenced with a peaceful demonstration on demanding mothers to not to leave their kids at home and go abroad.
This was followed with a street drama and then the crowd which gathered at Hatton bus stand walked up to the town hall displaying placards, posters and banners. The public meeting was held and discussed about the ill affects of the migration. The programme was attended by 250 people including children.
Rev. Fr. Camillus D. Jansz who served as the director of Caritas Kandy – SETIK for six years relinquished from his service in SETIK taking the responsibility as the parish priest of Rattota Church on 03rd of November 2014 and Rev. Fr. Desmond Perera assumed duties as the new Director of SETIK on 04th November 2014.
The management committee together with the staff of SETIK organized a Holy Mass and a special programme on 01st of November to thank God for Fr. Camillus and to appreciate him and his services rendered to people in the central province.
The function was attended by a large number of people including a considerable number of past employees who worked with Fr. Camillus.
Speaking at the function Rev. Fr. Camillus thanked his staff for the confidence and trust kept upon him and reminded our role as social activists in a process of Social Transformation.
“We are not doing merely a service. In our involvement as Social Activists we are in a ministry with a special calling. It is our bounden duty and responsibility to work towards the betterment of our fellow beings. Therefore, under any circumstances we are not in a position to ignore and neglect this duty and responsibility” said Fr. Camillus.
It was also stated that Fr. Camillus was instrumental to bring a large number of new projects and programmes to SETIK including many innovative programme ideas such as human resource exchanges and international & local internships etc. He did everything possible to keep a smooth running of the services of SETIK which give tremendous benefits to the poor and the marginalized especially, the people in the tea plantation sector.
The new direct was welcomed with a Holy Mass and a traditional welcome function. Before taking the responsibility as the director of SETIK, Rev. Fr. Desmond Perera served the people in Matale district as the Parish Priest of Rotawewa Church. He is also the director for Youth in the Diocese of Kandy and closely worked with SETIK as the Coordinating Priest of the Matate district.
We wish both Fr. Camillus and Fr. Desmond all the blessings and God’s wisdom for their commitment towards building a just society.
We are not doing merely a service. In our involvement as a Social Mobilizer or a Social Activist in a process of Social Transformation we are in a ministry with a special calling.
It is our bound duty and responsibility working towards the betterment of our fellow brothers and sisters. Therefore, under any circumstances we are not in a position to ignore and neglect this duty and responsibility”. This was the focal point of the Staff Capacity Building Programme conducted from 11th – 13th September 2014 at SETIK.
The coordinators and field officers of Caritas Kandy – SETIK were together for three full days and involved in a process of capacitating them selves through a well designed Capacity Building Programme.
We have realized the need and importance of creating more awareness among the children regarding the evil conditions developing in the society which have an effect on them very badly in different ways. It is also found that the children need to be trained and capacitated to face these vulnerable conditions and prepare them for precautionary actions.
Through the project of “Eradicating the Child Labour”, the SETIK has given a hand to the children in estate sector to form number of children groups and at present we witness many children are coming forward to take the leadership in their own society.
SETIK identified 45 such child leaders from 6 estates in Nuwara-Elya District in the age rage of 13 -15 years and conducted a Two Days Training Programme on Secondary Leadership on 07th – 08th August 2014 at SETIK Center in Hatton.
At the workshop following subject areas were covered:
- ‘Personality Development’ ,
- ‘Cultural Values’ and
- “ Conducting committee meetings’
While the programme was organized and facilitated by the coordinator & filed officers of the Child Rights Unit of SETIK , Mr. R. Mahendran(MA) and Mr. F. Jeffri Rapayal (BA) served as the resource persons.
At the end, it was revealed that such training helps the children to identify their leadership talents and skills which could be used much meaningfully for the benefits of their peer groups.
It is also necessary to conduct more and more training programmes for children in order to reduce their vulnerability in the society.
A Thanks giving Service and a Felicitation Ceremony was conducted on 19th July 2014 at SETIK Auditorium to honor Mr. N. Clarence Gregory, the Manager Administration who completed 25 years of service in SETIK Mr. Gregory joined SETIK on 01st June 1989 as an administration officer and presently holds the responsibility of Manager (Administration) and the consultant to the finance department. He had the privilege of serving SETIK under the leadership of five directors and many of them present to grace the occasion.
The Thanks giving Service was conducted by Very Rev. Fr. Milroy Fonseka, the Vicar General of the diocese of Kandy and followed with the Felicitation Ceremony. There were a number of cultural events such as dances, songs, speeches and power point presentations remembering the life and commitment of Mr. Gregory and felicitating his services to the community through SETIK.
The programme was organized by Rev. Fr. Camillus D. Jansz, Director, SETIK and members of the staff.