The Learning Tea — care2 Make a Difference

Katrell Christie is a thoroughly modern do-gooder. The former Atlanta Rollergirl—skate name: Takillya Sunrise runs a funky teashop in Atlanta that sells 50 cent books for charity and serves high tea every afternoon. If you ask her to sponsor your bake sale, car wash or dog wash she’s always ready with a “yes” and a plate of cookies.

In the summer of 2009 she went to India looking for tea. What she found in Darjeeling is the darker side of the region: a hub for trafficking girls into forced labor and child prostitution. Not wanting to be consumer profiteer, Katrell came up with a plan: The Learning Tea. Through the sale of Darjeeling tea from a Fair Trade tea plantation Katrell hopes to create a sustainable system that supports jobs in the community and the education for orphaned girls. The question is—can this simple plan work?

Filmmakers Phoebe Brown and Charlene Fisk will follow Katrell back to India in July 2010 to document Katrell’s return to India and introduce you to the young woman bravely transitioning from the orphanage to university. These girls—many of Nepalese origin— age out of the orphanage at 16 and face the grim realities for young women lacking opportunity and education: a life of forced prostitution, hard labor or servitude—too often under abusive conditions. While there are numerous NGO’s committed to improving women’s lives worldwide and addressing human trafficking and sexual slavery—on a wide scale the problem is still epidemic. There is not nearly enough media addressing the issue of the systematic inequality keeping women in poverty and in jeopardy.

What I hope audiences will get out of this film is a sense of how important education is in raising the status of women and that something as simple as a consumer choice can make a real impact. In addition, as a global community we can no longer stand by as our sisters are held back by lack of opportunity, education and, in many countries, brutal oppression. Change is possible when we stand up and make it.

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