Twelve years ago, Rare Tea Company began working with the Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi, East Africa. Founder Henrietta Lovell visited Satemwa and saw the possibility of creating sustainable development and social change by re-investing a percentage of the revenue from Rare Tea sales into the young people connected to the Estate.

She asked the workers on the Estate what they needed most, and they gave her a clear and unanimous answer – educational opportunities.   

Rare Charity was founded in 2016 to respond to this need.  We already fund University and college education for young people from across the Satemwa Tea Estate.  We focus on individual students because we believe that it is through their education and agency that wider social change within their community will be achieved. We invest in young people so that they can pursue ambitions of which their parents may only have dreamed.

Rare Charity grew out of Rare Tea Company, a direct trade business that supports independent farms producing some of the world’s most delicious tea, supplied to some of the most prestigious hotels, chefs and restaurants around the world.

Rare Charity shares the ethos of the Rare Tea Company: we work on the small scale, in communities we know, with a passionate belief in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. Everything we do is local and personal. We believe that by giving individuals life-changing opportunities we equip them with the skills to enhance their own lives and those of their families, neighbours and eventually of their communities.  We want to create a cohort of Rare Charity Scholars who are empowered to achieve social change in their own ways and on their own terms.

The founding principle of Rare Charity is sustainability. We are creating local role models who represent the aspirations of young Malawians and encourage their peers to develop skills and change their own and their community’s future.

Inherent to Rare Charity’s values is advocating gender equality by promoting female students.  At least half of our tertiary scholarships are set aside for female students, and in 2019 we plan to create secondary school scholarships for girls in the Satemwa area.   

It costs approximately £5,000 to fund one student’s full university course, inclusive of tuition fees, meals and accommodation, in Malawi.[1]  We plan to continue to expand our programme, to provide more opportunities for more rare students – not only across Malawi but beyond.  For that we need funding.

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[1] Figures correct as a ballpark figure for Malawi universities in September 2018