Founder Katrell Christie traveled to India in the summer of 2009 on a Rotary Club funded project to help women in a small village outside of Hyderabad 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 three young women who would soon be made to leave the orphanage because they reached the maximum age of 16. In addition to providing the girls with scholarships, Katrell was able to house the young women and covered all living costs .
Since its founding in 2010, the Learning Tea has accepted many young women—all below poverty level students —into our center. At this point we have a 100% graduation success rate and have one student currently in the masters program. Since 2010, over 50 volunteers have traveled to India to help the women 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 comfortable and safe housing unit in Darjeeling that includes a water-filtration system and a modern bathrooms. 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.
What’s The Alternative?
The students we work with to in India are coming from an unbelievable world of extreme poverty.
Without further education, job prospects are slim for these ladies. Their future jobs would range from manual labor like carrying bricks, rolling cigarettes or breaking up stone to making concrete and most of all are often sold into child labor, child trafficking, or prostitution. The Learning Tea and your generous donations are opening their futures up to better possibilities through education!