SA (she wants to remain anonymous) comes from Gouravilla, near Maskeliya, Sri Lanka. Her father died when she was 12 years old; her mother remarried her father’s brother.

This situation had a huge effect on her. She felt ignored by her mother after her second marriage, and as a direct result felt continuously distressed and upset. At the time she also had an uncle staying with her family who was 'misbehaving' with her.

SA moved in with her aunt shortly afterwards, but her aunt died seven years later. When she was 19 she went back to live with her mother who tried to force her to get married. However, one of her government school teachers convinced her mother to send SA to Tea Leaf Vision to continue her studies. Her mother, under pressure, agreed.

At the beginning of the year it was very challenging for the teachers to teach her in the class, because she always asked for a Tamil translation. She didn’t understand a single word in English and was frightened to learn. The teachers worked hard with SA and continually encouraged and helped her to learn English. The Advanced Diploma students also worked to help her to learn basic words and sentences in English. As a result, she began to feel more confident in her speaking and writing abilities. She is now working incredibly hard and is doing well in her studies. She has achieved good marks in all of her subjects, not just English.

Her confidence and self-esteem were very low when she started, but the high point for both the staff at Tea Leaf Vision and SA was her being awarded “Best Presenter” at the Tea Leaf Vision Speech Conference this year – an event which sees the students presenting both topics of interest and business ideas all in the English medium.

SA is now a very positive, confident young woman and a role model to all the students at the centre. She is very grateful that she came to Tea Leaf Vision and has an ambition to be a teacher. She joined the Advanced Diploma Programme in 2016 and we will work together to help her achieve her goals.