Under this partnership, Vahdam will focus on providing infrastructure such as smart devices and connectivity to about 1000 children in the tea-growing region.
Bala Sarda, founder of Vahdam Teas, said, “One of the key gaps was access to high quality digital education due to high costs and limited school infrastructure. With this partnership, we aim to accelerate digital education in the tea-estates on a long-term and sustainable basis.”
The pilot kickstarts this month through nonprofits CINI and CRY for on-ground support. By the end of the academic year, the partnership plans to expand to 20 tea estates and cover about 50,000 children across tea-growing regions in India.
The five-year-old homegrown tea brand, popularised by international celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey, launched the social initiative in 2018, where it earmarked minimum 1% of its revenues for the education of tea-estate workers’ children.
India is the largest consumer of tea, accounting for nearly 30% of global tea production. According to experts, the country consumes tea ten times more than coffee.
The premium tea startup added that tea is the second largest employer of organised labour only after railways providing direct employment to approximately 1 million, of whom 51% are women. About 10 million people derive their livelihood from tea through forward and backward linkages.
Vahdam has till date raised over Rs 120 crore in funding from venture capitalists such as Fireside Ventures, Sixth Sense Ventures, Mankind Pharma, SAR Group, and entrepreneurs like Kris Gopalkrishnan amongst others. In June, the company had partnered Delhi-based coffee brand Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters for online delivery to stay relevant as most dine-in outlets remained shuttered amid Covid-19 complete lockdown. The tea brand was also awarded by Amazon’s chief Jeff Bezos during his visit to India earlier this year.
Bengaluru-headquartered Byju’s was founded by Byju Raveendran who conceived the smartphone app in 2011. Earlier this month, the ed-tech platform raised $500 million in funding by US private equity giant Silver Lake with participation of existing investors Tiger Global, General Atlantic and Owl Ventures.