Online Lecture with Prof. Fazeeha Azmi

Fazeeha Azmi, M.I. is professor of Human Geography at the Department of Geography, University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka and an honorary Research Associate at the South Asian Studies Institute, University of Fraser Valley. The South Asian Studies Institute will be hosting an online lecture in partnership with Prof. Amzi on Sri Lankan Tea Plantation Women’s Odyssey through Middle East Migration: Listening to Untold Stories of returnee labour migrants.

Sri Lanka’s tea plantation sector, which is closely connected to the colonial history of Sri Lanka, is important in terms of foreign exchange earnings and securing millions of people’s livelihoods. Despite the contribution of tea to its economy, Sri Lanka as a state has yet to address the persisting economic, social and political issues of the people living in the tea plantations. Amongst other issues faced by the plantation sector, like poverty, low wages, and difficulties accessing healthcare, housing and education, the outflow of labour from plantation communities caused by increasing numbers of workers leaving the estates in search of work outside, has been identified as an important phenomenon. However, the total volume of migration taking place is unreported and underreported, leading to unsafe migration those results in different types of vulnerabilities to the migrants and their families. This presentation, which is based on a one-year qualitative research in selected tea plantation estates of Sri Lanka, draws from the lived experiences of Sri Lanka’s tea plantation sector women’s individual articulation of labour migration experiences to the Middle Eastern countries.  It highlights the causes, trends, processes, consequences and vulnerabilities of women migrants who are influenced by the patriarchal expectations of the plantation community and trapped by the Kafala system of the destination countries. It also calls for proper stakeholder dialogue on the issue to stimulate appropriate policy measures.

Please join us for a lecture led by Prof. Azmi and followed by an open Q&A discussion on March 15th via zoom at 9:00am. RSVP for a zoom link at