Estate Community Development Mission

ESTATE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MISSION (ECDM)

The Estate Community Development Mission (ECDM) was set up by the Church of Ceylon to support tea plantation workers in Sri Lanka. The church has a long-term commitment to advocacy work amongst Sri Lanka’s plantation communities, seeking legal rights for tea plantation workers and their families. The ECDM grew out of this. USPG has supported this programme since 2013.

The ECDM seeks to serve all plantation workers, irrespective of religion, caste or ethnicity. One key aspect of the ECDM’s work focuses on the children of tea plantation workers, ensuring that they have access to a good education. The programme runs five pre-schools, catering for 120 children. It provides extra coaching and guidance to children to enhance their knowledge and social skills and integration; at present, 163 children benefit from the programme in this way. The programme also conducts seminars at primary and secondary school level for students who are preparing to sit major school exams. For those who have completed school and are either in or considering further education, the ECDM offers assistance to university students to complete their studies successfully and obtain gainful employment. Alongside the focus on children’s education, the ECDM also looks after children’s health and physical wellbeing by providing meals in its preschools.

The ECDM aims to inspire and empower the family unit with counselling programmes for parents, focusing not only on women but also on men with a men’s care programme. For this, the ECDM has teamed up with another initiative by the Diocese of Colombo called ‘The World Needs a Father’.

Advocacy and social justice are also an integral part of the ECDM’s work, so it educates plantation workers on human rights and helps them get their identification documents in order. It also runs grassroots women's groups.