Backgroung and explanation of the project

Sri Lanka is the fourth largest tea producer in the world and due to the steep terrain, the tea plucking has not changed much since the 19th century. The inhabitants of the plantations are descendants of the Tamils of South India brought by the British in the early 1800s.

Today the plantations are still governed by well-established social structures; families live in small villages in the heart of the plantation where everything is provided : accommodation, school, medical dispensary, temple…

Approximately 80% of the workforce is female and they occupy the bottom rung of the ladder while men occupy positions of responsibility and management.

Poorly educated, women pluckers do not always understand the impact of their work, they do not have an overall vision of the process and are therefore not always aware of the crucial place they occupy in it. For this reason, the Atypique Foundation has chosen to support this project in order to build their self confidence and promoting the role of the tea pluckers within the tea plantations in Sri Lanka.

Objective of the project

The short term objective is to identify women with particular potential and support them to develop this potential and to evolve professionally within the plantation. These women will then provide role models for their peers and proof that it is possible to climb the ladder as a woman.

The long-term goal of the project is the “empowerment” of the tea pluckers on the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. By getting to know their environment better and by giving meaning to their profession they will develop self-confidence and have more ambitions for themselves and their children.


What is empowerment?

It’s a very popular word in English and difficult to translate into French. It refers to the process of giving power to people who do not have it; to offer them new capacities so that they can take their destiny into their own hands, increase their autonomy and control the factors that affect them.

Being autonomous, equipping, energizing and empowering are all verbs that allow us to understand the spirit of this word but also of the project that interests us here.

Fondation Atypique

The project

Selection of sixty pluckers who have demonstrated potential and a strong personality according to the following criteria:

  • Ability to positively influence their colleagues.
  • Leadership qualities.
  • Good teamwork skills

The pluckers participate in a training course and are then invited to spend a day in Colombo to visit the premises of the company for which they work and meet the big boss. They also visit the Colombo tea auctions.

A better understanding of the overall way the company operates from the tea picking to the auction and meeting with the group’s leaders who will give them time will allow the pickers to develop more self-confidence and to project themselves differently.

They will thus be able to better understand the process as a whole and give meaning to their work. They will be more motivated and stimulated to evolve and climb the social ladder within the plantation and will then be able to positively influence their fellow pickers.

The Atypique Foundation is funding two groups of pluckers for the year 2020.