Nilushika is one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated up-and-coming women entrepreneurs. She carries many titles that she wears with pride; orphan, garment worker, domestic helper, entrepreneur, non-profit founder, TED Talks speaker, and now, first woman to own and operate a tea business in her home country of Sri Lanka.
Experiencing tragic loss at an early age, Nilushika has set out to make her life experiences an example of overcoming difficult challenges and turning weaknesses into strengths.
With the creation of Nilu Tea, Nilushika aims to empower not only women who wish to start their own small business, but anyone looking for motivation or a role model to lead the way and show that with hard work, passion, and an unrelenting commitment to living a life with purpose, anything is possible.
A WELCOME MESSAGE AND A NOTE OF GRATITUDE
Nilushika Silva Jayaweera
Founder of Nilu Tea
It gives me great pleasure to introduce Nilu Tea, a premium tea brand with a powerful story.
Today, exactly one year after my TEDxSingaporeWomen talk, I am very proud to share a sneak peek into a project I have been working on for the past year.
Nilu Tea's story begins the day I decided to believe in my dreams and conquer my fears 16 years ago.
Can you imagine what it’s like to drive to the airport where you will board a flying machine that will transport you to a new life and not know what an airplane is? The only thing you know is that you must go, that something better than what you have now is waiting. This, I now know, is the meaning of hope and unconditional faith.
I had twenty cents in my pocket when I arrived in Singapore. Enough only to make a phone call to the maid agency that hired me. I didn’t speak English or know anyone. I only had a phone number to call to announce my arrival. What if I dialed the wrong number? I still remember my fingers shaking when I dialed the number in the public phone booth.
As I share this sneak peek of a project that has taken me back, not only to my country but back into my past, I cannot help but feel so proud of what I have become: a believer that anything is possible.
Nilu Tea is more than just a premium tea brand, it is a powerful story of human connection and the power we all have to make a difference when we put people first. It represents women all over the world, who like the tea pickers in the mountains of Sri Lanka, carry the heavy burdens and struggles to achieve their dreams and overcome their own obstacles. It is my story and the story of Sri Lanka as a top producer of world famous Ceylon teas. It is also an empowerment tool and a reminder that if I can do it, you can do it too.
I became an orphan at the age of 16. We had no money and nobody in our family wanted to assume the burden of raising 5 hungry kids. This cruel reality forced me to come to Singapore to work as a domestic helper and seek new opportunities. Today, 16 years later, now back in my own country of Sri Lanka, I proudly share a moment I never thought was possible.
Thank you to all the people who have supported me in my journey. There was a time in my life when I would go to sleep crying at the orphanage because I felt so alone and hopeless. Now I go to sleep crying because I am full of support and gratitude.
In particular, I would like to thank Olivia for encouraging me to take a course in Aidha School. It really gave me a hope to my life that I could do something.
Thank you to TEDxSingaporeWomen for giving me an opportunity to speak, not only about my journey but to give hope to all the women around the world. When I was first invited to speak and present my story, I didn’t know or understand the power and responsibility that comes with sharing one’s journey. I understand now and feel deeply grateful that you opened the door for me to discover that in sharing our hopes and dreams, we are also opening the doors for those dreams to become a reality.
Thank you, Leticia Murillo, for designing the most beautiful logo that truly brings to life the mission and vision for Nilu Tea. Every time I see it, I see a woman who is humble and proud of her work and who is standing tall and looking forward towards a better future.
Every day we have an opportunity to rise above life’s difficulties and become a better version of ourselves. Please join me as we take the first steps to bring Nilu Tea to the market. Sign up to stay up to date as we share more of our journey. You can sign up for our newsletter below, like our facebook page or connect on LinkedIn here> Nilushika Silva Jayaweera
Nilushika Silva Jayaweera