Images and feature article by Daniel W., CitizenC Contributor
If someone asked you, “Which country drinks the most tea?” some obvious answers you may think of are China–Concordia’s host country–or the United Kingdom.
But what about Paraguay?
As of 2017, the average Paraguayan consumes 12.22kg of tea per year, while China doesn’t even make it into the top twenty, consuming only 0.92kg per capita. But this is still a lot of tea. Two ounces (56 grams) of tea leaves can brew up to thirty servings, meaning that the average Chinese citizen consumes about 525 servings of tea each year and the average Paraguayan consumes about 6,300 servings of tea each year. That’s 17 servings of tea each day!
And here’s where Xiaohusai comes in: Xiaohusai is a social enterprise named after the small village in rural Yunnan that we support. It was founded and ran by a group of Concordia students that I’m now a part of. We’re ensuring fairness for its farmers by purchasing and reselling their tea at above-market value. With our profits, we’re empowering four girls to continue going to school every day. If the entirety of China bought from us, 65 billion dollars would be going towards scholarships for the children in Xiaohusai. Even if all of Madagascar (only consuming 0.02kg of tea per capita) bought from Xiaohusai, two million dollars would be going to children in need of education!
Tea or coffee? It's a pretty divisive question of preference, but it also describes a transformative rivalry brewing in Yunnan province.
Of course, the purpose of this article isn’t to get the world to fund a small village in the mountains of Yunnan. But with Concordia’s emphasis on community service, we’ve discovered that we can make a difference, even as a small group of high schoolers. Every purchase helps to both alleviate the exploitation of farmers by middlemen and educate girls, helping them sustainably break out of the poverty cycle. You can even watch the children that you’re helping to grow by checking up on our student-composed blog or by following our Instagram @xiaohusai! Our team of Concordia high schoolers visits Xiaohusai every summer to further help the children there and keep you updated on our progress. Whether you’re buying a t-shirt or sharing our blog posts, everything helps.
Xiaohusai benefits from Concordia tremendously, whether it is teachers buying our tea or students wearing our t-shirts and hoodies in support for our cause. Next time you’re at school, keep an eye out for our stickers on phone or laptop cases. After all, even a 5 RMB laptop sticker helps us give back to our host country by sponsoring education and helping farmers gain fair pay.
Daniel W. is a Concordia student and a newly inducted member of the Xiaohusai tea family.
Xiaohusai is a student-run social enterprise led by a small group of high school students at Concordia. We sell tea to raise funds for our scholarship, which we provide to the struggling families of Xiaohusai, a village in Yunnan. We're currently sponsoring the education of 5 children, as well as the development of the village's elementary school. If you want to read more about us, come see our website! We also write weekly articles on the topic of tea and Yunnan on our blog, Spill the Tea.