100% of profits support orphan education in Kenya

It's Not Just the Money, Honey. Reflections on International Women's Day

by Kate Holby March 08, 2023

It's Not Just the Money, Honey. Reflections on International Women's Day

When we were young(er) and more naive, we thought we could change the world. So we started a company to do just that. We read that women in developing nations tend to reinvest over 90% of their earnings back into their families and communities. So we reasoned we should start a company to create employment for women. Together with our mother, we started Ajiri Tea in 2009.

Ajiri means "to employ" in Swahili and we employ women to handcraft the packaging for our tea boxes using dried bark from banana trees. In the 14 years we've been in business, the women have invested in their families and communities. They've bought land and livestock, dug wells, paid for their own children to go to school, replaced their thatched roofs with sheet metal, and gotten electricity.


But despite all of these remarkable economic changes, women are still up against years of culture. They are still doing the majority of the cleaning, the cooking, the farm work, the childcare. Now we look at that figure of women reinvesting 90% of their earnings back into their communities a bit differently. Where are they making space for themselves? In that 10% that is left over?


As we send 100% of our profits back to pay school fees for orphans, we've made a conscious effort to sponsor both boys and girls. Perhaps naively once again, we believe that we can chip away at the gender imbalance by teaching young boys about women's healthcare, about consent, all while building an Ajiri scholar alumni network in which our boys treat the Ajiri girl scholars as peers and equals.

It is too early to tell if these boys will grow up to be men who cook dinner and fetch water and treat women with equality. Stay tuned for the next 15 years of Ajiri Tea development. This is a long-term company with long-term visions for social change. Equality wasn't built overnight. But it is being built through your support and through lots of cups of tea and coffee.

Thank you for sticking and sipping with us,

Kate, Sara, and Ann




Kate Holby
Kate Holby

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

(Tea)nagers Growing up and trying to like yourself
(Tea)nagers Growing up and trying to like yourself

by Kate Holby February 02, 2024

Tea and Teenagers . . . At Ajiri we try to fix things. High unemployment? We'll create jobs. Children need school fees? We pay school fees. But we can't fix those teenage years. We can't take away awkward growth. We can't remove their desire to be somewhere else or be someone else. But through encouragement, through truly seeing them, we can at least lead them to like a part of themselves. 💕

Continue Reading →

The Great Adventure
The Great Adventure

by Kate Holby September 19, 2023

All of these thoughts of adventure make us realize that adventure is a wealthy man's game. We value the physical feats of a climb up Everest while overlooking the very physical and emotional tenacity of millions of women to simply survive.

Continue Reading →

Wanting the Choice of Motherhood
Wanting the Choice of Motherhood

by Kate Holby April 25, 2023 1 Comment

Continue Reading →