Dilmah Tea runs several charitable funds created by founder Merrill J. Fernando. Every year, Dilmah allocates at least 15% of pre-tax profits to these own funds. This means that every penny stays and comes to direct use to improve the lives of both humans, animals and the environment in Sri Lanka. Charitable funds work actively and directly through various projects, instead of just giving money, which is otherwise common in charities. Dilmah's projects and relief activities thus also reach out to places where ordinary charities cannot find or go.
One of these projects, the Womens Development Programme, includes mothers of children participating in the MJF Kids Programme and The Rainbow Centre for Children with Disabilities. Women are trained in sewing, cooking and sustainable horticulture, but not only to gain more knowledge, but also as a therapeutic psychosocial activity to counteract the personal circumstances in which they live.
This takes the form of group-led discussions, which gives them a forum where they can speak freely and also share their life challenges. The sessions are led by qualified staff who not only listen, but also hold discussions about how women can receive support if, for example, they have been abused or need support in creating and running a household economy. All these different parts contribute as a whole to a strengthened self-esteem and self-confidence. We at Tekompaniet have learned this through direct conversations with the women involved in the project when we visited the MJF Centre.
The pandemic has hit women in the kitchen hard and it has been difficult to get income as payment is made only after delivery. Without money no raw materials and without raw materials no orders. Therefore, we from Sweden have now contributed 1300 SEK, which corresponds to 15-20 times the money for food in Sri Lanka. After cooking, it gives so much profit that they can afford to buy new ingredients. Now we keep our fingers crossed that it turns for our friends in Moratuwa! ❤️