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Mercy Corps

School Education for Children in India’s Tea Garden Communities

Mercy Corps is a global NGO serving to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression within more than 40 countries. Their approach to change is based on the belief that secure, productive and just societies will emerge when the private, public, and civil society sectors are able to operate with accountability, inclusive participation and mechanisms for peaceful change.

Within the state of Assam in northeastern India, Mercy Corps operates the School Education Retention Program (SERP) to help local youth reach their education goals through coaching and scholarship programs. SERP operates within Mercy Corps’ broader context to incorporate health care, life skills, job training and other resources for families who live and work in the region’s tea gardens.


  • Leverage Smith Teamakers' longtime investment in the wellbeing of northeastern India and its people by co-funding SERP in upper Assam, the world’s largest tea-growing region
  • Support tea farming families by providing their children with life skills training, education coaching and scholarships, allowing them to move on to the next level of education


  • Increased program quality and lower cost to scale through standardized SERP curriculum to train and onboard coaches
  • 73% of students with access to SERP coaching pass their graduation exams, bringing them in line with India’s national average

Grants awarded

  • 2016-2017 - Supporting the SERP education program for tea workers’ children in Assam, India through coaching centers, scholarships and program sustainability