Meet the Teams: A Different Cup of Tea

The tea plantation community of Sri Lanka – over 1 million people of Indian origin brought as slave labor by the British – is the poorest and most disempowered segment of the country’s population. Denied Sri Lankan citizenship until 2003 and completely dependent on their employers for over 150 years, they have been subjected to various forms of discrimination and currently experience limited livelihood security with little or no access to alternative economic opportunities.

More than 55 percent of tea plantation workers are women. They are expected to work almost twice as many hours per day as male laborers before their “second shift” of work begins at home. They are rarely able to hold positions of authority which would enable them to influence changes which impact their socio-economic conditions. Also, disenfranchised youth with a higher level of education and greater desire to change their socio-economic circumstances than the previous generations have also become dissatisfied with conditions in the plantations and are leaving their communities en masse for greener pastures in urban areas. However, due to a lack of suitable qualifications and basic documentation, they are often limited to menial work in overcrowded cities.

For the past 35 years, the Community Development Forum (CDF) has been a cornerstone of CARE Sri Lanka’s work with the plantation communities. It is a proven method of inclusive governance where members of the community are skilled, empowered and given a voice to engage with relevant stakeholders with the aim of achieving social transformation for the entire plantation community. It has resulted in dispute resolution, informed decision-making, improved communications, better working and living conditions, and general upliftment of the plantation community and the tea industry.

Different Cup of Tea

Meet the Team

Ananda Alahakoon | Plantations Advisor | CARE Sri Lanka

Ananda Alahakoon is a Senior Advisor for the Plantations program at CARE Sri Lanka, and brings extensive knowledge regarding Plantations to the team. Ananda has more than 15 years of working experience with CARE International Sri Lanka and has previously served as Project Director for the SHAKTHI project and Plantation Community Empowerment Project. The Community Development Forum (CDF) was nurtured under these two projects and Ananda had a hands on role in its expansion of membership. He has experience working with workers, management, community members and other stakeholders, including state and trade union representatives to make joint decisions that he will be able to bring to the team going forward. He holds a Bachelor of Art in Geography from the University of Kelaniya obtained in 1978 and has received a Post Graduate Diploma in Community Development from Colombo University obtained in 1995.

Faizal Cader | Area Director, Plantations | CARE Sri Lanka

Faizal provides expertise in innovative leadership in strategic planning, institutional development and program management to coordinate and support all programs operating from the regional office of central region, Sri Lanka. Faizal has worked with CARE Inernational in different portfolios since 2003; and has over fifteen years of management and technical experience in development and humanitarian programs with special focus on community empowerment, governance, food security and livelihood, agriculture and coordination of emergency operations. As a development and humanitarian professional, Faizal has contributed to the origination and execution of over US$ 10 million of funds for beneficiaries in development and humanitarian responses. Faizal holds a Master of Business Administration from the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya obtained in 2003, a Master of Arts in Sociology from Kamraj University of India in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Peradeniya obtained in 2000.

Lahari de Alwis | Manger, Private Sector Engagement | CARE Sri Lanka

Lahari de Alwis is a Manager with CARE Sri Lanka focusing on private sector engagement. Lahari is keen to expand the work the team has been doing to impact more people effectively, culminating better lives for plantation communities. Through innovative thinking and dedication, Lahari will assist in the engagement of the private sector to catalyze the reach and impact of the team. Lahari has experience organizing events, meeting with prospective companies to initiate collaboration and liaising with government contacts. Before joining CARE, Lahari served as Project Coordinator of the IUCN and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, responsible for setting up a platform for collaboration between the private sector and conservation agencies. Lahari holds a Master of Science in Biological Mathematics and Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Warwick obtained in 2005, a Master of Advanced Study in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 2004 and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Warwick obtained in 2003.

Dayal Perera | Project Manager, Governance Project | CARE Sri Lanka

Dayal is a Project Manager with CARE Sri Lanka, and has overseen the implementation and evaluation of the Strengthening Policy and Action through Citizens’ Engagement (SPACE) Project. Dayal has 12 years of experience in the private sector and 17 years in the development sector providing leadership for projects funded by USAID, Norway, HelpAge International (UK), UN Habitat and many others. Prior to joining CARE, Dayal worked for HelpAge Sri Lanka for nearly 9 years and become the Director Programmes. He has participated in overseas exposure visits, seminars, conference and training programs across Europe and Asia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Moratuwa and a Diploma in Psychology & Counseling from the Institute of Psychological Studies. He is a visiting lecturer for Statistics at the University of Kelaniya and a lecturer at the Institute of Psychological Studies.

Roshan Prashanth | Project Coordinator | CARE Sri Lanka

Roshan Prashanth currently serves as a Project Coordinator for CARE Sri Lanka. Roshan supports the day-to-day implementation and management of projects, and is dedicated to the initiatives of the team. Roshan brings innovative thinking and understanding of the people and their needs, as well as a wealth of experience in planning and implementing projects. Roshan is eager to expand the current work of the team to catalyze the reach and impact of the approach.

Kalani Ranasinghe | Senior Advisor, M&E and KM | CARE Sri Lanka

Over the past several years, Kalani has monitored and evaluated projects funded by OAK Foundation and European Union while maintaining the projects information systems, including databases. Kalani has also provided technical guidance on M&E strategy at the programme and project level and designed M&E activities and new initiatives. Kalani has worked with CARE Sri Lanka on several different portfolios and has expertise on tea plantation community related governance and gender and inclusivity programmes. Before joining CARE, Kalani worked with the Institute of Social Development, an NGO based in Kandy, where she designed and maintained project M&E plans, and guided field staff. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Development Practice course at University of Peradeniya; and she holds a Bachelor of Arts Second class Honors degree from the University of Peradeniya obtained in 2010 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management at University of Colombo.

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