Tea Leaf Vision is a project close to Melissa’s heart.
Melissa's long and winding road to this point spans not only two continents but two very different cultures as well as involving a little time travel, as she journeyed back to her infancy. Born in Sri Lanka, her birth mother had no choice other than to allow her to be adopted at just eight weeks old.
Life in the UK meant that she was given the gift of a first rate education so that she could head off into the world full of hope. She had no idea, then, how very different her life would have been if her birth mother had not been brave enough to let her go.
After an incredible series of coincidences, a friend visiting Sri Lanka in 2009 found her mother. She was working on a tea plantation and living in poverty with Melissa's two brothers – who she never even knew she had! Amazingly, Melissa had just one photograph of her mother cuddling her as a baby. Melissa's mother, also had a copy of this same photograph so the connection was made. For 25 years, they had both treasured this same image, both wondering about each other and now it had brought them together.
As soon as Melissa could, she travelled to Sri Lanka. I’m sure you can imagine how emotional the re-union was and even with the language barrier, there was no doubting the love felt for each other - Melissa, her mother and brothers.
Melissa's happiness during that trip was tempered however with the realisation that for her family, living and working on a tea plantation, was a very hard life. Money was scarce, the work was backbreaking and living conditions awful. More shockingly, she discovered how dreadful the education system was for the children of Tamil tea plantation workers and how this contrasted with her own experiences. Worse still, was the revelation that there is a very high suicide rate among these children. She is now involved with a project called Tea Leaf Vision run via charity Tea Leaf Trust and also helps to raise awareness of the plight of the Tamil tea plantation workers.
Throughout 2016, Melissa is fundraising to buy a second-hand school bus for Tea Leaf Vision. To donate, please follow this link: www.virginmoneygiving.com/Melissa-Day or alternatively, you can donate £10.00. through a Text Giving Service: ABCD15 text to 70070