Katrell Christie is a thoroughly modern do-gooder. She was an Atlanta Rollergirl–skate name: Tekillah Sunrise– and she runs a funky teashop in Atlanta that sells 50 cent books for a cause. She’s a woman who loves life and who believes in community.
In the summer of 2009 Katrell 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. Non-Governmental Organizations in the area estimate that between 7-10,000 girls are tracked annually to Indian brothels from Nepal which borders Darjeeling. Girls—some as young as 6 and 7— are frequently forced into 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 funds higher education for the girls in a local orphanage.
Katrell’s will return to India in July to make plans for the young woman she is sponsoring from orphanage to university. These girls—many of Nepalese origin—age out of a Buddhist run 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 brutal conditions. The sexual enslavement of women is one of the most pressing issues of our time and the world’s eyes need to be opened to the possibility and importance of change.