Project Description

Along with India and China, Sri Lanka belongs to the main producers of tea worldwide. Around 300,000 tonnes of the dried leaves are produced here every year. The weight of the freshly harvested leaves is many times higher. Even in the 21st. century tea is still harvested by hand. Many youngsters, like Rashmi, pluck the small leaves from the branches for a few roupees day after day.

Her sisters also work as tea pickers in the cool mountain region of Nuwara Eliya. “It’s very hard work”, she tells me whilst showing me her swollen hands, “but I need the money”. Not far away stands her overseer. A gloomy, threatening man with a stick in his hand. I mustn’t talk too long with Rashmi, he shouts, as it keeps her from her work.

Rashmi’s work is a race against the clock. And against the endless expanses of the tea-fields, where there are always plants waiting to be harvested. The overseer determines a daily quota, and whoever picks less than this amount receives less money. \\\”Regardless, we always find time to laugh”, emphasises Rashmi. “I regularly work next to other tea-pickers and, quietly, we tell each other cruel jokes about the overseer”.