Porridge, Eggs and Sanitary Products Project in Sorwathe
The Sorwathe Tea Factory is one of the tea estates we source from in Rwanda; however, the community within the area includes many low-income families, and this often means that children don’t have a balanced or varied diet.
This impacts their ability to participate in school activities, pay attention in lessons and in some cases, may prevent them from attending school all together due to low energy levels. Unfortunately, it can also result in malnutrition and stunted growth. Here at Taylors we’ve had a relationship with Sorwathe LTD and Tea Importers for over a decade and we’ve collaborated on many VCI projects together since 2013, from the construction of a computer laboratory to co-funding Farmer Field Schools, which teach farmers and their employees new techniques to improve tea production.
Since 2015, Taylors and Sorwathe have been working together to improve the variety of food that children from local communities consume daily. This project supplies eggs and porridge to preschools and ECD centres which are given to children each day by teachers, parents and caregivers, with the hope that it will improve nourishment in young children and boost energy levels. We hope that supplying the food products will help the children to become healthier and stronger, resulting in improved attendance at school and a better-quality of life. When Sorwathe first started this project, they were giving out 100 cups of porridge per day, now with Taylors’ support they provide over 1300 cups a day. Taylors have invested into this project in line with our long-term agreement, which is a guarantee of funding for three years, in hope that this will increase the impact that the project work will have within the community.
Another challenge facing communities in the areas near the Sorwathe Tea Factory is that many young girls are unable to attend school during menstruation due to embarrassment and shame as their families do not have the money to purchase sanitary products. As a result, they often have no choice but to turn to unhygienic methods to manage their periods. In light of this, Taylors and Sorwathe have invested in providing reusable sanitary pads to schools, along with training on how to make the pads. We hope that this will provide many benefits, from increased attendance at school and participation in sporting activities to improved hygiene and reduced diseases, as well as removing the shame these girls are feeling. One of our Trainee Tea Buyers, Katie Kippax, has recently visited Sorwathe and experienced the impact of the project first hand.
The Sorwathe Sanitary project is extremely important as it empowers young women to manage their periods without shame or stigma. I handed out the kits to each girl and to be a part of that gave me a greater understanding of how important these kits are — they not only improve attendance at school but have a huge impact on their wellbeing. Katie Kippax, Trainee Tea Buyer
Recently, data was shared with us on the projects and we are thrilled to see that that school attendance has improved. Preschool numbers increased by 24% from 2014 to 2019 and school attendance increased by 8% since 2019.
As well as the foreseeable benefits of these projects, we are also looking forward to seeing positive changes in the community long-term. We hope that improved nutrition and attendance at school will contribute to a healthier workforce in the future, with increased family income and long-term financial stability for the community.