The Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) is a tripartite organisation, which was set up and incorporated on 18 September 1992, to improve the lifestyles of the plantation community through social welfare programmes.
The three parties involved are the Government of Sri Lanka, Regional Plantation Companies, and some of the major trade unions in the plantation sector. The Government is represented by the Ministries of Plantations, Finance, Health, and State Ministry for Estate Housing and Community Empowerment. The PHDT, as the main service provider to the plantation worker community, has also expanded its services through various specialised sectors to improve and deliver these services in a more professional manner.
The PHDT vision was to be the leading human development organisation trusted for excellence, providing sustainable development programmes to continuously improve the quality of life in the plantations.Believing that the employees are their most valuable asset and making an effort to develop the ability and productivity at all levels, they always endeavoured to conduct their activities responsibly and ethically, to achieve sustainable development, by adopting best practices and processes that ensures long-term economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
For the last 30years, the PHDT has been an iconic facilitation agency and reputedfor strength, stability, integrity, and resilience. The PHDT serves the most underprivileged sector of the country, the plantation community, by maintaining the highest standards of governance and transparency, innovating with the latest digital technologies, and investing in sustainable programmes and projects.
Over the last 30 years, they committed to implementing both hardware and software programmes, maintaining sustainability, despite many challenges and obstacles, to ensure the upliftment of the plantation community. They continued steadfastly to maintain the trust the workers placed in them even during the last 2 years with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The PHDT has performed strategically and systematically to expand their operations, having streamlined and implemented an array of effective projects, catering to the needs and requirements of the plantation community, by way of providing the estate workforce with greater opportunities and adequate tools to assiduously build their dreams.
The PHDT always kept the plantation community in mind and continued a series of successful projects during these 30 years.The PHDT, through the years, identified and catered to the needs of the plantation community.
The PHDT has been recognised for its Financial Transparency, Accountability, Good Governance and for Best Accounting Practices by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and South Asian Federation of Accounts.
The PHDT has a talented team who are unique and differfrom any other capital within the organisation, who play a more complicated role in providing and serving the plantation community. They provide a wide array of services to the plantation worker community, with improvements to Housing and Infrastructure, Water and Sanitation, Health and Child Care, Social Mobilisation and Community Development etc. The PHDT, as the main service provider to the plantation worker community, has also expanded its services through various other specialised sectors to improve and deliver these services in a more professional manner.
The PHDT, in their project activities, mainly focus on improvements to the infrastructure facilities of the working community.Since its formation, PHDT catered to the workers and their families through many health programmes, to promote health, prevent diseases, and ensure a healthy lifestyle.To name some of their programmes, maternal care, child development, child protection early child care and development activities, health education, nutrition awarenessand cooking demonstrations, women empowerment, training programmes for Estate Health Staff, activity specific awareness for the Estate Managers some of their major activities organised and carried out by their health division to uplift contributing to the productivity and sustainability of the industry.
The Regional Plantation Companies extend their unstinted support to estate workers’ housing co-operative societies in terms of capacity building, mobilisation of resources etc. In addition to providing loans for various other projects. water supply and sanitation project (WASSIP) is the latest project funded by the World Bank.This project focused on the plantation sector in many estates. So far, under this, WASSIP has spent more than Rs 835million to provide safe drinking water to nearly 5,000 households and approximately 250,000 beneficiaries.
Their ECD project funded by the World Bank, implemented under the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Empowerment was initiated in 2016, with a total investment of USD 10 million. Under this scheme, the children were provided security in modest Child Development Centres under the guidance of a Child Development Officer who was a Diploma Holder. These Centres were provided a play area with furniture and play equipment spending nearly USD 8.29 million for the children for their recreational activities.
At present, the PHDT has reached the second half of the third round of immunisation against Covid-19, covering nearly 97 per cent of estate community. Through the PHDT regional staff, they have organised vaccination awareness programmes to educate the plantation community.
In order to overcome the malnutrition issue in the plantation sector, with collaboration of Palm Foundation, they were able to launch 10 community kitchens.
Several other measures are currently underway to further improve and strengthen the EWHCS units in the country, including automation of their financial records for greater discipline and accountability. The EWHCS has emerged as a leading community-based organisation in the country and many units are located at RPCS Estates.
We believe, it is a commendable achievement for an organisation to reach its 30th Anniversary in its journey as a trailblazer in the plantation industry and a dedicated corporate citizen. The PHDT commemorates this day with humility. Their journey has always been a challenging, yet inspiring one. Today, the PHDT is strongly positioned, financially and in terms of expertise, experience, and other resources, to fuel economic development.
The PlantationHuman Development Trust(PHDT) has understood the dire need and had obtained the approval of the Planters’ Association and the Ministry of Plantation Industries to initiate discussions with the Social Security Board of Sri Lanka with the view of commencing the Plantation Employees voluntary pension scheme which needs wider support and recognition by all who are interested in the survival and the sustainable growth of this important forex earner to the national economy.
May the PHDT sustain its services to the planters with greater commitment and motivate all planters to look to professionalism in serving the plantation sector and country.
Let us look to the future with the inspiring strength and vigour of the past and rise to fulfil the workers needs in their march to progress and development.
We congratulate the Director General, Lal Perea, his efficient assistants, and the staff for their achievements in these 30 years, working towards the betterment of the plantation sector and its community and wish it continued success to go from strength to strength.
About the author:
Lalin I. De Silva is the Secretary General, Ceylon Planters Society.
By Lalin I. De Silva