The Centre for Tribals and Rural Development Trust (CTRD Trust) is a voluntary organisation registered under the Indian Trust Act in the state of Tamil Nadu. We currently work on projects and programmes aimed at promoting and strengthening the livelihood, welfare and development of the poor tribal and rural communities of the Nilgiri District. This involves organising them, enhancing their capabilities, introducing new ways of improving their income and linking them to banks, markets and other health, welfare and economic services. Experienced professional teams based in the field use their skills and knowledge to alleviate poverty by working directly with these communities.
To give tribal and rural communities the right tools and knowledge to help themselves. The focus is on comprehensive and inclusive health, education and livelihood training to promote sustainable economic wellbeing, equality and basic human rights for all, regardless of gender, age and ability.
Empowered and self-reliant tribal and rural communities with improved socio-economic conditions that do not damage their cultural and environmental identity.
CTRD has been providing trainings for the tribal communities in tea plucking over a decade now. The major next step started in 2015 when the Project “Income generation for ethnic minorities by producing organic green tea” with our partner SODI began To break the dependency from middlemen and big tea companies this project included the construction of a tea factory, which will be run and owned by the tribal community itself. The “Green Valley Tea Factory” will produce the tribes’ own branded “Ippi Malai Tea”.
Last week the roof was constructed and the floor will be installed very soon. The plan is to start the production of organic fair trade tea in January 2018. While the construction is progressing we are starting to establish business contacts to export our tea to Europe.
All revenues will be directly invested in tribal programs, which will end the dependency from development organizations for 1000 small scale tribal tea farmers and their families in the Nilgiri District.
I started my trip with a visit of my friend Mrs. Ulrike and spent a few days with her family. Her husband Mr. Claus-Philipp Prochaska will support me with the logistics to transport our organic green tea from CTRD to Germany.
Afterwards, I stayed with Mrs. Uschi und Reinhold at Bammeutal, near Heidelberg. They welcomed me in their home and provided me with transport to the train station so I could travel to my next station –Bonn.
In Bonn, Ms. Christina welcomed me at the train station and later I went to Bornheim where I stayed with Mr. Klaus Grimm and we have the friendship more than 27 years, In Bonn, Ms. Christina and I visited a large tea company called TeeGschwendnerwhere we met with the buyer Mr. Daniel Mack.
Moreover, I met Dr. Oluf Huebner from Adivasi Afforestation Ashram to discuss a joint Adivasi coffee project. After that, I met Mr. Martin Foerster from Friends of Tea to market the tea of CTRD. Mr. Bernhard – Mr. Daniel’s father –hosted a delicious dinner for me and Christina.
I continued my trip in Webstern where I was happy to stay with Mr. Michael and Ms. Veronica for two days. Mr. Michael helped me to travel by train from Bonn to Webstern then to Berlin.
In Berlin I stayed at a hotel. Mrs. Susanne Wienke, the program manager at SODI, took care of the stay, local transport, and arranged meetings with the newspaperNeues Deutschland and the organizationEl Puente. Mr. Daniel and I had a meeting with Ökotopia for the tea marketing.
I also gave a newspaper interview and video interview while I was there.
On the 18th, I participated in a panel discussion on the topic Fair & sustainable in the supply chain at the taz Café in Berlin, where I also had meetings with the company Lebensbaum and the organization Gemeinwohlökonomie.
I was happy to meet my old friends Mr. Hannes and Ms. Aline (working at the Taz newspaper)in Berlin as well who I hadn’t seen in a long time.
I want to thank SODI for this opportunity, the stay in Germany and the participation in various meetings– a special thanks to Mrs. Susanne Wienke, program manager at SODI.
I am also thanking Mr. Daniel and Ms. Christina for their support and help to make my visit successful, helping me a lot by arranging meetings with companies, etc.