We're delighted to be working with Sri Lankan based tea company, Devagiri. Find out more about them below.
Devagiri is run by Roshana and her partner Mike. Rosh's grandfather founded the estate in 1947 and his children carried on farming after his death. But by 2022, they were struggling and couldn't carry on. A sale of the business to a third party could have had displaced the community that farm and live on the land, and Mike and Rosh just couldn't bear to see this happen. So they raised investment to buy the estate and left their London careers to try to turn Devagiri around. The estate has produced some of Sri Lanka's finest teas since 1947, so they are excited about where they might be able to take things.
Rosh has volunteered with Crisis since 2013 and, having lived in London for many years, she and Mike have long been concerned about the growing challenge of homelessness. So, when they began producing tea, they were keen to share it Crisis and they were delighted to be able to provide 50,000 cups of tea to Crisis at Christmas.
They want to make a long-term contribution; so they have developed a co-branded box of teabags, from which 10% of revenue will go to Crisis.
What is Devagiri all about?
The global tea industry is inequitable and too little goes back to the people who farm and craft the tea.
A greater inequity of the industry relates to the thousands of South Indian Tamil people who were brought to Sri Lanka as indentured labour for the colonial coffee, rubber and (later) tea plantations. Now in their 8th and 9th generations, the descendants of these people have little connection with India and firmly consider themselves Sri Lankan. While human rights and employment legislation now protect these workers, there is more that needs to be done. Most concerning is that social mobility in these communities is limited in comparison to other social groups in Sri Lanka; with the impact that they are disproportionately dependent on the tea estates in which they live and work, and are therefore at risk of losing their homes if a tea estate fails.
This was the situation facing the community of 40 families at Devagiri. Mike and Rosh wanted to help, so they decided to give up their London careers and dedicate themselves to turning things around and building a sustainable long-term model to ensure security of livelihoods and homes for the estate’s community.
Find out more about Devagiri here: Welcome | Devagiri (devagiri-teas.com)