Category: Giving Back

A Gift from Gaonli Village

I’m not sure what I was expecting, really.

Perhaps small groups of girls quietly sewing or studying or shyly showing us their homemade handicrafts. Something simple. Something that would be easy to describe with a few well-chosen adjectives.

Instead, I found myself holding a bemused baby goat and thanking a smiling 14-year-old girl for her gift while trying to explain through a translator that there was no way I could get a goat through customs.

It was a Saturday in Jaipur and my Tea colleague Jessie and I were spending the day visiting villages with Gram Bharati Samiti, a non-profit funded by the Global Fund for Children. In Hindi, the name means “Society for Rural Development.”

Early that morning, we met the Gram Bharati Samiti founder, Bhawani, at his office near Amer Fort. A sixty-something man with sharp eyes and sparse hair, Bhawani welcomed us with a gentle greeting and masala chai. He introduced us to Kusum, a quiet woman in her fifties who has worked with Bhawani for 25 years. (Kusum has one of those smiles that makes you feel like everything is going to be ok.)

Bhawani explained that he and Kusum would take us to visit three of the 17 villages they’ve been working with—teaching them about safe drinking water, about healthcare and women’s rights and the power of education.

After an hour or more of jouncing down increasingly narrow roads, dodging cows, camels and overloaded motorbikes, our van pulled into the middle of Gaonli village and I sat and stared in open-mouthed astonishment.

There, in a dusty clearing between equally dusty mud dwellings, stood a huge tent teetering on bamboo poles. And beneath it, a rainbow of pink and yellow and purple saris.

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A crowd of villagers, mostly women and girls, all turned to stare as we awkwardly climbed out of the van and then, as Jessie and I pressed our palms together and murmured, “Namaste. Namaste,” they all began to smile and laugh and bob their heads in greeting. They had been waiting for us.

We were led to the front of the tent and seated on folding chairs facing everyone as Sarita, another GBS staff member, picked up a microphone and began to introduce us.

We found out later that the sound system was powered by a generator that had been trucked in on the back of a motorcycle. Gaonli has no electricity or running water. The people who live there walk nearly two miles each morning to pump their water from a well. (Yet later, at every door we passed, someone came out to greet us holding dripping glasses of water for our refreshment.)

Dressed in their best and visibly nervous, several teenage girls put on a Rajasthani dance demonstration, one after another after another gracefully bobbing and twirling in front of us, anklets jingling.

The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project

At Tea, we believe in and wholeheartedly support the mission of The Global Fund for Children, and we began our tradition of Global Giving Thursdays in October. Every third Thursday of the month when you give to The Global Fund for Children on our site, we will match your donation. All proceeds go directly to our longtime charity partner.

For the month of December, we are matched up with The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project in Washington, D.C.. In the holiday spirit of giving, we are extending our Global Giving Thursdays to be everyday from December 2nd, 2014 until December 25th, 2014. During this time, when you buy one of Tea’s holiday styles, we’ll donate a similar style to the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project. primary-photo

Families with children find themselves homeless for a variety of reasons, including rising rent costs, job loss or a job that pays too little, domestic violence, and medical problems. Some families spend years in facilities that are intended to be short-term solutions. This vulnerable time in a child’s life presents unprecedented risks as families live and sleep in unsafe situations. Most family shelters have no programs or services for children.

Wildlife Holiday Cards Giveaway

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

When I first started designing for merchandise, I realized how many products had cute animal designs but weren’t doing anything to spread awareness or give back. Around the same time, I was working with a handful of non-profits who wanted to raise funds by selling products, but they didn’t have the funds or knowledge to design them. (Usually they would just sell a t-shirt with their logo on it, which would only appeal to the audience they already had.) I wanted to bridge that gap by designing product that would appeal to popular markets, but would spread awareness and raise funds for these causes, too. So for the holidays I created four greeting cards for some of my favorite wildlife organizations.

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 In partnership with Red Panda Network

Street Library – The Global Fund for Children Grantee

At Tea, we believe in and wholeheartedly support the mission of The Global Fund for Children, and we’re excited to announce Global Giving Thursdays. For now on, every third Thursday of the month when you give to The Global Fund for Children on our site, we will match your donation. All proceeds go directly to our longtime charity partner. With each Global Giving Thursday, we’re spotlighting a different grantee. This month: Street Library in Duayaden, Ghana.

Global Fund for Children: Ghana A volunteer at Street Library Ghana.

© Rosie Hallam / Financial Times

Children living in the Eastern Region of Ghana typically have limited access to education, and no access to reading materials outside of school. Most of these children have delayed reading skills for their age, which prevents them from succeeding in school.

Reaching multiple villages with its mobile library program, Street Library Ghana brings books to children who don’t have access to reading materials. SLG also offers mentorship and leadership training, tutors children who are unable to read, and organizes events like debates, quizzes, and writing competitions.  SLG engages entire communities around the importance of reading. The library operates with the involvement of trained “community program officers” who are selected by village elders to run the program in each community.

Here at Tea, we are honored to partner with the Global Fund for Children and learn about how our donations have an affect on the grantees. The Street Library Ghana is a wonderful program that promotes literacy and engages communities to place a higher value on children’s education through reading.

 

Jiuqian Music & Arts Center – The Global Fund for Children Grantee

Leigh Rawdon

We’d heard that the Jiuqian Music & Arts Center was just 15 minutes from our Shanghai hotel. But the Chinese-speaking driver just kept driving and driving… An hour passed and we were officially very, very far from the urban, international city of skyrises.

The driver slowed down, checked his map, then pointed out at a field, and looked at me with a very puzzled look. “I’m beginning to think this is a wild goose chase.” Adam, my 7 year old son asked, “What’s a wild goose chase?”  I assured myself that this would be a story to tell for years to come. But I also couldn’t stop thinking about how much my family needed a bathroom after a long day out and about in Shanghai. We turned around, nearly giving up but then we saw the address posted on a small gate into a set of four industrial buildings. I’m pretty sure the driver was disappointed we weren’t headed back to Shanghai, & that he was stuck with us out in the middle of nowhere.