Dignity Through Education is a small organisation that provides university bursaries for underprivileged children whose families work on tea plantations in rural Sri Lanka.
Dignity Through Education was founded by a group of church members led by Mr Theva Sandanam Thevarokiam in 2015 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. In that year 3 students were supported. Of these students 2 graduated in 2019, one in Information Communication Technology and the other in Law. The former has started giving private tuition in ICT to plantation children in her home area, prior to taking up the offer of full-time government employment. The law degree holder recently took Oaths as an Attorney at the Colombo High Courts.
Of the 16 students supported in 2016, 10 are now in their 4th year. They are studying various disciplines in several universities in Sri Lanka. They are supported by donations made by generous individuals and will be sitting their finals this year.
In 2020 we supported 13 students while 4 others are looking for support, should donors become available.
Our mission statement
We aim to help students from low-income families whose parents live in tea plantation areas. Students receive the vital additional funding they need to complete university degrees in order to ensure they face a successful future and live in dignity.
Inspiration behind our work
In 2014 Theva read an article written by Dr Jehan Perera, Chief Executive of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka (NPC) organisation established in 1995. The article was titled ‘The forgotten community’ and highlighted the plight of the people living in the tea plantations. This inspired Theva to meet up with Dr Perera and to offer to help by providing additional financial assistance to students of poor Tamil tea plantation workers, who had already gained admission to universities. It is a great achievement for students to achieve A Level qualifications let alone university education, considering the lack of basic necessities in their daily lives. They are first in their families to gain admission to university. Education is the only way for these students to gain any kind of dignity in life. Otherwise they will end up working in the plantation like their parents and continue to live in ‘line rooms’.
Learn more about who we support.