Founder Katrell Christie traveled to India in the summer of 2009 on a Rotary Club funded project to help women in the small village of Hyderebad establish a handicraft that their husbands could sell at market.
Along the way, Katrell witnessed the devastating poverty that many young women face—often because of the lack of education opportunities available to them—and vowed to help assist a small orphanage in the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India with much needed uniforms, school supplies, and shoes for its young scholars.
Aiding the orphanage encouraged Katrell to do more for young women in the region affected by the forced labor, sex exploitation, and child trafficking industries so rampant in the West Bengal region. From this experience, The Learning Tea was born when, in 2010, Katrell fully committed herself to funding the university educations of 3 orphaned girls in Darjeeling.
In only 4 years since its founding, The Learning Tea has accepted 11 young women—all honors students in their respective grades—into our center. Since 2010, over 30 volunteers have travelled to India to help the girls and perform routine maintenance and repair work on our living facility. The donations from our generous supporters have helped The Learning Tea establish and maintain a modern housing unit in Darjeeling that includes a water-filtration system, a renovated bathroom, space to accommodate 11 girls, and a bottom level with room to accommodate 10 more after improvements. The organization not only provides for our scholars’ housing, tuition, food, clothing, medical benefits, and other life necessities, but also music lessons, tutoring, computer classes, and other extracurricular activities through the proceeds of our Darjeeling tea sales, used book purchases, and monthly dinners at Dr. Bombay’s in Atlanta, Georgia.