Pioneering the perfect tea estate

How Gayan and Kesara are helping to raise living standards in Sri Lanka

Unilever Heroes: Gayan Seneviratne and Kesara Ranawake

Raising living standards

Gayan Seneviratne Kesara Ranawake

One million people in Sri Lanka – nearly 5% of the population – live and work on tea estates. Their levels of health and hygiene are lower than the national average, and poor infrastructure means they have limited access to quality products that could help raise their living standards.

Gayan and Kesara came up with the concept of creating ‘Perfect Estates’ to address these issues by increasing awareness, knowledge and adoption of our products with small-scale retailers in hard-to-reach rural areas.

Delivering crucial products to those most in need

They introduced a range of initiatives within the communities, including oral health and handwashing programmes as well as beauty and grooming workshops. They also developed a method to help business partners fund the extra cost incurred servicing these outlets.

In doing so, Gayan and Kesara have built a distribution network that now brings crucial Unilever products to those who need them most. In 2016, they completed five Perfect Estates. In 2017, they plan to complete 30 more.

So far, the programme has been rolled out in 175 of the country’s 420 tea estates, covering 600 stores. The goal is to reach the entire 1 million population of the tea plantation sector in Sri Lanka by 2018.

Gayan says: “We supply directly to these small estate stores close to people’s houses, giving them a good product at the right price. This is not just selling, we are touching people’s lives.”

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