J.M.E. Dulani Devmini is a talented young leader who honed her skills over the years through Fairtrade. She is still of school age and is preparing to face the A-level examination in the biology stream this year. Her family is a member of the Fairtrade Small Producer Organisation Small Organic Growers Association in Sri Lanka which is a part of the Stassen Bio Tea Garden.
With the support of the organisation, she has received several learning and leadership opportunities under Fairtrade as a child of a farming family. Over the years she has completed the leadership training program of DAASH Global and “Soft Skills for Youth” organised by Fairtrade program and has also represented her organisation at the Fairtrade Youth Convention 2021.
Currently, she is a member of the Fairtrade Youth group in Sri Lanka and works as a Youth Leader. Dulani mentions that through these programs she has learned how to be a perfect youth leader among acquiring other important skills that will be valuable for her future.
“I would like to work with Fairtrade International in the future and share my knowledge and experience with everyone. I hope to inspire young people in our area to succeed in the future and help farmers in our community to improve their quality of life. To the youth I would like to say that to be a successful leader is not only to be professional but also to boost your self-confidence, be smart, and believe in yourself,”
J.M.E. Dulani Devmini
Another courageous woman who changed the course of her life through Fairtrade is Siriyawathi. She was the founding member of Small Organic Growers Association Wegoda (SOGA) in Sri Lanka which started in 2016. She then went on to become the secretary of the society in 2017 and then its President in 2019. Since 2020 she works as the Treasurer of the society.
While SOGA had started with a limited number of members, Siriyawathi and her team have succeeded in increasing the number of members to 338. Additionally, she is also a senior officer of Stassen tea company.
According to Siriyawathi her leadership skills have improved over the years. She has developed essential skills such as speaking without fear in front of a group of people and speaking appropriately and concisely. Through Fairtrade training she has gained a good understanding of women’s and children’s rights and has the knowledge to provide adequate solutions to their challenges and problems.
P.G.Chandran works as the secretary at Aluwana Hithakara Organic Tea Producers Society, which started in 2016 with a very small number of members. The position meant dealing with challenges in getting the society registered, recruiting new members, and making them believe in the vision of the society.
With guidance from the old members of the society, she identified other Fairtrade union members and shared the experience gained from them with the society. She mentions through Fairtrade-led programs, women were given a special for their overall development and capacity building
“We were given a purpose through Fairtrade. Our society also connected me to a Fairtrade program held in Thailand through which we received a lot of exposure and knowledge about the Fairtrade system. Now we have grown our society to 192 members who are supported through various Fairtrade-funded projects such as productivity and yield improvement, and capacity building of youth through the Fairtrade Youth Leaders program. I also hold positions in many societies in the village and the women in the village are encouraged through these programs. Today I stand as a strong woman with lots of experience, training, and knowledge and the strength instilled through Fairtrade.” – P.G.Chandran