Save the Children’s CEO- Bidisha Pillai travelled to Assam and shared some reflections from the field. According to Bidisha, the work that we are doing in Dibrugarh, with small tea growers focusing on sustainable business practices, ensuring fair wages for labourers (especially women) and protecting the rights of children in the tea gardens, is incredibly important, and potentially game-changing. There are many issues there, which include the fact that basic services like schools, Anganwadi centres, and hospitals are not always available to these marginalised communities, and even if they are, then the quality of services provided leaves much to be desired.
The main issue with the small tea growers that appeared to leap out, was income poverty: because of the poor margins that they generate from the tea production, they are unable to pay minimum wages to the labourers, which leads to problems like school dropouts, child labour, and early marriage. There was a discussion about the need for more in-depth data to improve our understanding of these issues.