Who do we support?

Dignity Through Education supports students from low income backgrounds in Sri Lanka through student bursaries.


We sign up independent sponsors who provide vital funds for student bursaries for children of tea leaf pickers in Sri Lanka. A small monthly donation can mean a life saving opportunity for these students. Learn about the students we support and how your donations can help change their lives:

We have a variety of application criteria that our students must fulfil in order to access funding:

  • The applicant must be full-time student of a university and a son or daughter of an estate worker family presently residing in the estate worker’s quarters (line rooms) at the tea plantations.

Most of the line rooms are 12’ x 24’ (3.5m x 7m). In this room, a family of 4 to 6 members or maybe more are accommodated. Living, sleeping, children studying, cooking, all have to be managed within this space. A cesspit lavatory is constructed outside the ‘line rooms’ and is shared by the occupants of neighbouring line rooms.

A common tap is available in front of the line rooms which provides untreated running water. During droughts, water may not be available and the occupants then have to walk a mile/1.5km or more to collect water for their domestic needs. Only about 60 percent of the line rooms have electricity. Even this is a recent phenomenon. It is worth mentioning that electricity supply has a great impact on children’s education.

  • The family income of the applicants are very low.

The overall income of a family depends on the wages they earn from labouring on the estate. An average day’s income is around SL Rs. 750 (£3.25) and workers rarely get to work for more than 20 days a month if the estate is managed efficiently.

In a comparison between urban and rural labour wages, rural workers earn only 50% as much as their urban counterparts. It is only those workers who are tea leaf pickers in the estates who get more than about 3 to 4 months work in a year. As a result, the average family income is well below the minimum amount needed to meet basic needs and it is less than one third of the national per capita income. In these circumstances, affording the children education is rarely possible.

  • We prioritise rural tea plantation workers

The applicant and his or her family are residents on an estate located within the administrative district boundaries of Nuwara Elia or Badulla. This covers largely the tea plantations.

Coming from such difficult and appalling home conditions and having such a paltry income, students struggle to succeed.  Their determination and continued desire to improve themselves by spending 4 years in the university, whilst living quite a long way from home, has to be encouraged and appreciated.

In 2016 there were 120 applicants for the 16 bursaries we were able to offer and there are a large number of students waiting for a lifesaving opportunity.

Learn how to support a student with Dignity Through Education.