Pathmanadhan Vinothan is from Portree Estate, which is located in Norwood, Sri Lanka. Both his parents are estate workers, inheriting the poverty and social problems that all of the other tea-picking families in the upcountry are destined for.

Vinothan started working at an early age, as his support was essential for his family’s survival. He did his work each evening after school, repairing computers and doing painting jobs, all to bring in money for his family. However, his dream was always to be a Police Officer.

As soon as he finished his government-school education he joined Tea Leaf Vision.

When he started the year, he couldn’t even spell his name in English, but to be a Police Officer, he needed a working knowledge of the English language. The staff worked hard with Vinothan and he was encouraged to move in the direction of his dream. He struggled in the early months but he was a determined young man and worked incredibly hard in all of his subjects, so he could be accepted into the Police Academy.

Vinothan had other struggles. During his year at Tea Leaf Vision he needed support for his emotional health problems. He attended a number of counselling sessions with a trained counsellor, which Tea Leaf Vision offers to all of its students. Living in a line room on his tea estate he felt suffocated and trapped; he understood his community, but not himself. He didn’t know who he was.

Through education and counselling Vinothan gradually became a more confident, self-disciplined, pro-active student. Tea Leaf Vision enabled him to realise what he needed to accomplish to achieve his dream and be at peace with himself.

Today he is a Police Officer topping a batch of 288 trainees. He is now regarded as a role model at both the Police Academy and in his community. He is very grateful to Tea Leaf Vision for making this change to his life.

“As an ignorant person I approached you… today I am a guide”