Oftentimes when one thinks of tea the only thing that comes to mind is the actual drink. We tend to not think much about the countries where the tea originated; the estate where the tea was grown; or the many workers who harvest the wonderful drink us tea lovers greatly enjoy.
People often think only of China and Japan when contemplating the teas country of origin. However, there are many countries that grow and produce the fine teas we drink in abundance. One such country is Bangladesh, officially known as, The People’s Republic of Bangladesh. For years, I was unaware that tea was produced in this South Asian country that is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south.
You may wonder why I am talking about country of origin and tea estates. It is because I recently learned about Teatulia, a tea estate located in Bangladesh and the wonderful way the estate gives back to the community.
I truly believe in the importance of recognizing the amazing things people (whether company or individual) do for one another. Here is the story of the Teatulia Tea Estate as provided on their website:
This fascinating estate was established on virgin soil in the foothills of the Himalayans in 2000. From the beginning, only organic methods have been used in this garden, leading to the first USDA Organic Certification in Bangladesh. But this not what makes Teatulia fascinating.
The founder of this estate, Dr. Anis Ahmed, set out to create a different type of tea garden, one that would not only produce outstanding teas, but would also support and sustain its workers and the local community, and protect the environment. Consider some of the unique methods used at Teatulia:
- Poverty Alleviation Through Cattle Rearing: Manure for the plants is provided by 100% organically raised cows, which are “loaned” to villagers to provide income and nutrition. The payments on the loan are 1 liter of milk per day and 10-20 kgs of cow dung. The remaining milk, dung, and any calves belong to the villager.
- Distribution of Herbal and Medicinal Plants: Shade trees to protect the tea plants are carefully chosen medicinal trees, and the produce from these trees is provided free to the community, as well as the produce from other medicinal products grown at the estate.
- Adult Education: Illiterate workers are provided free reading and writing instruction one hour per day.
- Health and Recreation for the Youth: Free recreational equipment is provided for local schools and clubs.
- Organic Farming Education: Villagers, teachers, professionals and government employees are invited to our garden to learn about our methods. For those who implement organic methods, we offer to purchase their goods at a fair price.
- Safe Hygiene Distribution: Free latrines are provided to our workers and local villagers. This simple, low-cost initiative has proven to be one of the most effective ways to improve health conditions.
- IT Education: A computer lab provides free use and instruction to up to 60 students a day.