About Ajiri Tea
In 2008 Sara Holby, at the age of 21, went to western Kenya to volunteer for an NGO that distributed food and medicine to members of the community suffering from HIV/AIDS. Five months into her stay, the global financial recession caused international sponsors of the NGO to pull their donations, leaving many without food and medicine that seemingly overnight stopped coming. Shortly thereafter, Sara’s sister, Kate (then 19 years old) visited Sara in Kenya.
Seeing the detrimental cycle of aid and the side effects of dependence and low self-esteem, they looked to create a sustainable project. With their mother, Ann Funkhouser, the three of them decided to start a company with the goal of creating employment. Tea is a major industry in western Kenya, so they set off to start a tea company. And since women tend to reinvest over 90% of their earnings back into their families, they looked to employ women to hand make the labels for the tea boxes and the twines that go inside.
Ajiri tea wanted, however, to create a full cycle of sustainable aid. Because education is a sustainable investment, 100% of the net profits go back to Kenya to pay school fees for orphans. Ajiri Tea Company is now sponsoring 29 orphans in school and is employing four different women’s groups. In the spring of 2013, Ajiri Tea Company expanded to include Kenyan AA coffee, and maintains the mission of employment and education.
Ajiri Tea Company is now sponsoring 29 orphans in school and is employing four different women’s groups.