Centre for Policy Alternatives on 14 September, 2017

150 Years Later: The Story of Tea – campaign recap

Categories: Documents

In August 2017, we celebrated 150 years of tea production in Sri Lanka. While there was much reported in the media around celebratory events by tea producers, distributors, and the hospitality industry, and the future of Ceylon tea, there was little to no mention whatsoever of the tea plantation workers without whose contribution the industry would not exist.

With the objective of creating more visibility and awareness and to ensure that key narratives do not remain invisible during this significant anniversary, CPA’s civic media output – by way of Groundviews, Vikalpa and Maatram – were anchored to key issues facing the tea plantation workers to coincide with the 150-year anniversary celebrations, as it is important to consider issues faced by the workers who sustain the industry. The output focused on the change (or lack thereof) in the lives of the workers 150 years since the start of the industry, including a plethora of issues faced by them and their families, challenges for the future, areas for reform and strengthening rights. Content is in all three languages, through short-form video, photography, long-form journalism and other interactive media, and has been compiled below.

This project was supported by Democracy Reporting International.

#GlobalCeylonTeaParty | ‘අපි මේ රටේ පුරවැසියෝ නෙමෙයිද?’ [Video]

#GlobalCeylonTeaParty | හැම ‘තේ’ කෝප්පයකම යට ‘කඳුළු කතාවක්’ තියනවා


150 வருட பூர்த்தி: உரிமைகளை பெறுவதில் அந்நியப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ள தோட்டத் தொழிலாளர்கள்

“வலிச்சா வௌக்கெண்ணதான் மருந்து…” (புகைப்படக்கட்டுரை)

“நம்ம மாதிரி கஷ்டப்படக்கூடாது, இந்த தேயிலையில…”

“பதிமூனாயிரத்துல இப்ப 500 ரூபா மட்டும்தான் மிச்சமிருக்கு…”

STORYSPHERE: “ராமசாமியையும் ராமாயியையும் ஏன் அழைக்கவில்லை…?”

STORYSPHERE: “ஹொஸ்பிட்டலுக்கு  கொண்டுபோக வாகனம் கூட இல்ல…”


From Tamil Nadu to Badulla: A Century in the Tea Estates of Sri Lanka

The Road to School: Access to Education in the Plantation Sector

Like Drought Parched Earth: The Painful Injuries Sustained By Tea Pluckers – content from Maatram

Roti and Rice: Examining Imbalances in Nutrition for Children in the Estate Sector

The Forgotten Brew: The Struggle for rights and representation in Sri Lanka’s low-country estates

STORYSPHERE: Education at Risk

STORYSPHERE: The Daily Journey

STORYSPHERE: In Search of Work


This House is not a Home: The struggle for addresses and land in the estate sector