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UK couple raise funds to help Ragalla tea pluckers

A couple who set up a charity to help people in Ragalla are gearing up for their penultimate fund raising event that will raise money to build a school.

Yasmene Shah, 33, and husband Tim Pare, 34, of Rayners Lane, started the Tea Leaf Trust after they came to Sri Lanka on their honeymoon last November, and were moved by the plight of the local tea pluckers.

Pare, who works in employment advice and helps people get off the streets and into jobs, spoke to the manager of the hotel where they stayed, about what he was doing to help.

When Pare returned, he told his wife that the manager was trying to help, and had been looking for people to teach English but was having no luck.

Shah said “I knew what was coming next, he said ‘we have got to raise money for these people so they have another choice’.

“And when we got back we were itching to get started.”

Since becoming a registered charity in March, they have raised Sterling Pounds 17,000 through a number of fund raising events.

One of these events saw a group trekking up Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England which stands at more than 3,000 feet, in fancy dress as well as sponsored walks and runs and much more.

It is hoped that their next big event, the Winter Ball, will help to raise most of the remaining Sterling Pounds 13,000 they need to start up a school which will offer 100 places to people in the estate community.

The aim of the school, which is to be located near three tea districts in Ragalla, is “to teach people so they can teach in schools, work in offices and get a basic trade”, Shah said.

With Pare as one of the teachers, lessons will be provided for children and 18-24 year-olds while the site will also be used as a base for a local women’s group that they hope to run.

Tea Leaf Trust’s final event is to be a concert which will take place in January, just before Shah and Pare move to Sri Lanka.

The red carpet Winter Ball, which takes place on November 22, will include entertainment from Motown and Soul band, Groove Machine, traditional Sri Lankan music, a three course Sri Lankan meal and a big prize giveaway.

Harrow Times

 

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