In December Ethelwold Tea Estate, Dibrugarh, Assam, was host to The Communitea Festival which showcases the talent and culture of the tea estate community. The Communitea Initiative was launched in 2014 by Jalan Tea Group with the aim of engaging with estate workers in the fields of art, culture, sport, education, health and sanitation. Resource persons and NGOs specializing in the various fields hold workshops and training camps regularly with activities culminating in the festival.
The project was initiated and promoted in the Jalan family-owned estates, but activities have now spread over several other tea gardens in the region. Fifteen estates and more than 350 participants took part this year and the festival also included sporting and athletic events for men and women, a drawing and painting competition for children, traditional and ethnic food, and the display and sale of jewelry. Even though the event is led and sponsored by Ethelwold Estates, the festival is actively supported by UNICEF and the Bharatiya Cha Parishad (the local association of tea planters).