Call To Care Uganda – Connections Over Miles

In a small southeastern Connecticut town, a partnership between a tea shop and a non-profit organization formed connecting tea farmers 7,000 miles away in Uganda to the North American market. Though unconventional bonds, this partnership serves to introduce Ugandan tea to an awaiting audience.

Judy and Phil Parda opened Savvy Tea Gourmet in 2008, a DBA of World Source International LLC. Originally operating as an online store with shipping and distribution coming out of out of their home, Judy and Phil longed to open a larger space in their community of Madison, CT. After opening a storefront, Savvy Tea Gourmet’s mission of “improving lives with tea, one sip at a time,” was born.  Through their business, the Pardas remained committed to enrich their community’s quality of life.

Meanwhile, in 2007, Martha Hoffman, also located in Madison, founded Call To Care Uganda, a non-profit organization aimed at helping vulnerable children in Uganda and those who care for them. Call To Care Uganda has implemented several critical projects in Uganda such as drilling wells in 20 villages to provide clean drinking water to thousands of people and building a children’s community center for educational, medical, and social purposes. Call to Care Uganda

In one of her first visits to Uganda, a local priest, overjoyed by Martha’s commitment to bettering the lives of Ugandan children, presented her with a gift of tea locally grown and processed in Uganda. Already a tea enthusiast and a local customer of Savvy Tea Gourmet, Martha shared the tea with Phil and Judy in one of her visits to the store. They were so impressed with the quality and flavor of the tea, they decided to serve it at their first event at the store. The tea was very well received at the event with many customers inquiring about its origin. The door to Uganda teas was now open.

“The tea was just amazingly good

Call To Care Uganda

and we were really inspired us to get involved with Martha and Call To Care Uganda. We thought we should connect the dots,” says Phil. “I wasn’t seeing any Ugandan tea anywhere in North America through all of my travels. I thought Call To Care Uganda was doing so much great work to help the people of Uganda. I thought we should do something to help Martha out as well.”

Through this connection, Savvy Tea Gourmet now purchases tea from Igara Growers Tea Factory located in the Bushenyi District in Western Uganda.  Igara Growers Tea Factory became privatized in 1995 and now has 6,000 farmers. 3,800 of the farmers are also shareholders working cooperatively together in Igara. Martha and the Pardas have been working with farmers in Igara to build an importing structure which will eventually enable North American distribution. When consumers express interest in buying Ugandan tea, World Source International LLC acts as an agent for Uganda and coordinates the purchase.Call To Care Uganda

As Phil says, “World Source International LLC now has a development fund set up to channel some of the funds generated by the sale of the tea back to Call To Care Uganda. It’s really a win-win-win. The farmers, the consumers in North America, and Call To Care Uganda all benefit from this.”

Of the partnership, Martha remarks, “It is beautiful. Igara will become an incredible business model in their region as not just one that simply exists to produce tea and profit in the industry, but also to give back to their brothers and sisters at home who are in such dire need.”

And of course, the children in Uganda will reap the multifaceted benefits ranging from education, clean drinking water, medical aid, and more through this chance partnership, proving that really, it is a small world after all.

Phil Parda will be hosting a Focused Tasting at World Tea Expo on Sunday, June 9th, 2013. Experience the rich teas of Uganda for yourself. Learn more about this Focused Tasting here.

Learn more about Call To Care Uganda.

Learn more about Igara Growers Tea Factory.

Learn more about Savvy Tea Gourmet.