Ajiri Tea Wins Leadership Award

DSC_0510_2Upper Black Eddy, PA (January 11, 2015) – The Specialty Food Association awarded Sara Holby from Ajiri Tea Company the Leadership Award in the category of Citizenship at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. This award recognizes Holby’s commitment to employing women and educating orphans in western Kenya.
Upon accepting the award, Holby spoke about the incredible privilege of choice evident in the Specialty Food Industry. She expressed how wonderful it is that the industry recognizes giving the consumer more choice, but also giving the producer more choice. The privilege of choice, and the opportunity that comes with choice, Holby noted, can be shared every time a consumer makes an educated and conscious decision about what to purchase. Holby said this shared freedom of choice can look like a lot of different things in Kenya. For example, the freedom of choice can look like “Thomas, an Ajiri-sponsored second grader whose parents died of AIDS. Thomas wants to become a teacher, or a president, or a doctor, or a truck driver. He is not quite sure. But he has the freedom to choose—the freedom that comes with the opportunity of education.”
The award comes at a time when Ajiri Tea Company is making great progress. All of the women employed in Kenya now have bank accounts, a huge step in promoting gender equality. The 29 sponsored-students in Kenya are all doing extremely well in school and have started to learn how to use a computer in the small Ajiri Foundation office. Holby is thankful to everyone who helps make all of this happen, saying, “It takes more than one leaf to make a good cup of tea.”
Sara Holby co-founded Ajiri Tea Company in 2009 with the goal of creating employment. The word Ajiri means “to employ” in Swahili. Ajiri Tea currently employs over 60 women in western Kenya to hand make the packaging for the tea and coffee boxes. The tea itself is bought in western Kenya from a cooperative of small-scale farmers. 100% of the profits from the sale of Ajiri tea and coffee are donated to the connected 501(c)(3) Ajiri Foundation to pay school fees for orphans. The Ajiri Foundation is currently sponsoring 29 students in school. The award-winning Ajiri Tea and Ajiri Coffee are sold in over 500 stores worldwide.
The 2015 judges for this award are as follows: Donna Daniels, Social Venture Network; David Gagnon, Organic Trade Association; John Raiche, UNFI; Errol Schweizer, Whole Foods Market; and Rory Treats, City Harvest.
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