Experiences in St. Lawrence's program of study in Kenya by mother-and-daughter alumnae of the program, plus a current student, have inspired the creation of Ajiri Tea, a company formed with the mission of creating employment for the people of western Kenya and educating orphans in the region.
Bowdoin graduate Sara Holby, who participated in the St. Lawrence Kenya program, was working for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Africa, when her mother, Ann Funkhouser '79, also a Kenya program alum, visited her in the spring of 2009. They were joined in May by
Kate Holby '12 and together, they have formed the company.
Ajiri Kenyan black tea is purchased from a tea factory in the Kisii district of Kenya and employs women in Kisii to handcraft the box labels, beads and twine for packaging. All profits are sent back to the community through donation to the Ajiri Foundation to educate orphans by paying their school fees and purchasing their books and uniforms. By supporting farmers, employing women to create the unique handmade labels on every tea box, and paying school fees for orphans, the company founders hope to make a difference in Kenya today and in the future.
Kate Holby, of Upper Black Eddy, PA, says that some stores near her home have begun stocking the tea, as is Brewer Bookstore at St. Lawrence. She is exploring other sales outlets near the University. For more information about the company, its mission and its product, visit the Ajiri Tea Web site.
Posted: November 5, 2009