Nepal Tea is a certified organic specialty tea supplier that helps improve the lives of Nepali tea farmers and children. Founded in 2016, the Jersey City, New Jersey-based company recently implemented a Kickstarter campaign to grow its social project. Founder Nishchal Banskota and Sashreek Shrestha created the campaign and set the fundraising goal at $32,000. According to a press release, 494 contributors generated $42,759.
“It is amazing to see people from across the world come together to support a cause—helping another human live a better life,” said Banskota. “It is heart melting to know that a child in rural Nepal is getting a full year’s education because of someone in United States. I intend to make more connection and continue making a difference in days to come. This project is proof that big changes can happen when we unite.”
Nepal Tea provides organic tea directly from its Kanchanjangha Tea Estate and Research Center (KTE), which is Nepal’s first Certified Organic Tea Garden. Deepak Banskota, Nishchal’s father, opened the tea estate in 1984 along with local farmers as part of a cooperative business model. Nepal Tea makes it possible for the public to support the social programs implemented by the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate while consuming the estate’s high-quality tea.
Projects organized by KTE in Nepal include:
- The Cow Bank Project: Cows are distributed to small farmers who can sell cow’s milk and dung.
- The Education Project: In 2002, KTE created a scholarship program for all of the children of small farmers living in the Panchthar District. So far, 2,300 students have received scholarships.
- The Free Housing Project: KTE provides housing to its workers, many of whom were previously homeless.
- The Farmer’s Co-op: KTE provides workers some staple grocery items: rice, cooking oil, salt and washing soap.
Nepal Tea’s business model excludes middlemen traders and allots a share of its revenue for programs created to improve Nepali tea farmers’ lives. The company wants to include more Nepali tea gardens in its social program to benefit more farmers. “Kickstarter is one of the ways to expand the model of our factory to other tea gardens and factories in Nepal,” said Nishchal.
Nishchal also wants to build an identity for tea originating in Nepal and distinguish it from Darjeeling tea. He added that 80 percent to 90 percent of Nepali teas are sold to Indian traders at a cheap price and then marketed as Indian tea.
Nepal Tea hopes to continue to expand its distribution in the United States to share the distinctive taste of Nepali tea with a wider range of people. Toward this end, Nishchal said the Kickstarter campaign has garnered the attention of wholesalers and retailers.
As for consumers, a video on Nepal Tea’s website says, “You don’t have to donate, volunteer time and resources … All you have to do is drink a good quality organic KTE tea and the rest is on us.” Buyers have a lot of options, from black and green teas to nettle tea and more. The company’s tea selection is on its website at https://nepalteallc.com/collections/teas.