At the heart of a thriving society lies the importance of safeguarding its most precious members: children. To achieve this, everyone has a responsibility – including businesses. The Centre for Child Rights and Business (The Centre) proudly works with companies and their supply chains in a wide range of sectors to ensure they have a positive impact on children and their families.
To mark International Children’s Day in Sri Lanka, we want to spotlight child rights initiatives that tea industry players are committing to undertake through our CRIB Challenges. These CRIB Challenges are designed for tea companies, including plantation companies, brokers, exporters, and brands to address a particular issue that children from their workforce in estates or factories are facing. Each round, The Centre will select participants with the most innovative ideas and provide support in the form of either funds or technical expertise.
Tea Smallholders Pioneering a Clean Drinking Water Initiative in Remote Areas
Round 3 of the CRIB Challenge, launched in collaboration with Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), focused on tea smallholder communities and mid-sized tea producers. The challenge was won by the District Tea Smallholder Society Kegalle, in collaboration with the Zonal Education Office of Kegalle and the School Development Society. Together, they put forward a concept note to construct a protected well at Uduwa Sri Saddhananda Maha Vidyalaya. This initiative seeks to address the issue of inadequate clean drinking water and will also ensure the well's ongoing maintenance.
This challenge marked a significant milestone as it demonstrated the far-reaching impact of The Centre and the Mother and Child Seal Initiative for Responsible Business within the depths of the tea industry. These smallholders inhabit extremely remote areas, and we are pleased to report that progress is underway after our risk assessment in 2020, with our first pioneering child rights champion among smallholders.
A Regional Child Protection and Child Safeguarding Centre for Children and Officers of Tea Estates
Round 4 of the CRIB Challenge, which was launched in collaboration with Save the Children and UNICEF, focused on managers of tea estates of Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs). Logie Estate of Talawakelle Tea Estates emerged as the winner. Their concept revolves around establishing a regional child protection and child safeguarding centre at Logie Estate. This centre will serve as a vital resource hub and training venue for children and officers across all 12 tea estates under Talawakelle Tea Estates in the region.
This approach aims to address critical challenges faced by children in Logie Estate and the surrounding region. Currently, there is a noticeable absence of suitable facilities and services tailored to the educational and child protection needs of children and youth in the area. The creation of a dedicated building exclusively for educational and child development activities represents a pivotal step toward fostering a safe and conducive learning environment. The transformation of this building into a Child Protection and Safeguarding Information Centre signifies a progressive move to centralise resources and support services for approximately 8,000 children across the 12 TTEL Estates.
The Centre's ultimate goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of children, encompassing physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual protection, while simultaneously preventing any instances of neglect, exploitation, or violence. To achieve these objectives, it is crucial to deliver comprehensive and holistic child protection services through collaboration with businesses and brands, leaving no child unprotected or overlooked.
The Centre continues to expand its work in Sri Lanka through the Mother and Child Seal Initiative for Responsible Business. We link service providers with business entities to help push forward systematic change in Sri Lanka’s tea industry, to the benefit of families, children and tea businesses.
Please contact us if you need support or would like more details on our Seal Initiative.