Gifting Smiles in Maskeliya, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka we’re involved in helping foster educational and economic opportunities for the people of Maskeliya, a very poor community of tea plantation workers located near Nuwara Eliya in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.
The tea pickers of Maskeliya work very hard. Many of the young adults have to leave school early to help their parents earn a living. Without finishing their education, they don’t have many options for their future except working on the plantation. Working in conjunction with the Tea Leaf Trust, a charity organization committed to providing better education for underprivileged children and young adults working in the tea fields, Khiri Travel’s tours to this area are designed to contribute to these people and other sustainability initiatives in the community through responsible tourism.
The lush green landscape and rolling hillsides of the tea plantations are very inviting to travelers. During a visit to Maskeliya, travelers have an opportunity to pick some tealeaves in the field and visit the processing factory. Visitors can also volunteer in a number of interactive community projects such as exchanging language lessons. There is also a chance to learn to cook Sri Lankan curry, join a hike to nearby Adam’s Peak with some local students or join a lively game of cricket with the school children.
The goal of this responsible tourism initiative in the Central Province of Sri Lanka is to use the tourism value chain to foster sustainable businesses in the local community. For example, letting guests overnight at the local accommodations, though very basic, make a difference not only to the livelihoods of the guesthouse owners, but also to local restaurants, handicraft vendors and tour guides.
Additionally, groups of travelers can help sponsor the sustainability initiatives at the nearby school. They can for example donate classroom furniture, help teach English or organize a sports day or drama class. Travelers contribute to the disadvantaged community around the tea plantations via these activities or via donations. Khiri Travel is happy to hand tailor an itinerary that will benefit both the tea pickers and provide a rewarding travel experience for visitors, especially for student groups involved in service learning projects. Travelers sharing their time, talents and treasure with the people of Maskeliya is a win win situation for everyone involved.
For more information about visiting tea plantations and responsible tourism opportunities in Sri Lanka, please contact to [email protected]