A Very Special Partnership
The road is a blur of motorbikes, tuk tuks, bicycles and cars. The beeping is loud, but not as loud as the people chattering and laughing on the pavement. The air smells of cardamom, it resonates with Hindu prayers, it shines with bright coloured saris and golden bangles.
Oh, and there is a cow in the middle of the street.
On one side, an old man as a cute, wonky chai stand: he’s mixing Indian tea and spices in a metal container. A few men sit on stools around it, sipping their drinks and sharing jokes and stories about their day.
If you’ve ever been to India, this description may sound familiar, as it is one of the most common scenes that you will ever see there.
But you are probably wondering why I’ve just taken you all the way to Asia…?
Well, by now you might have heard about Vivo’s latest news: the launch of our new Magic Chaga Chai Latte!
Although we created something completely unique, we always knew we were drawing from a recipe with an incredible amount of history and cultural heritage behind it – the one of authentic Indian Chai.
We never wanted to forget this, and that’s how we started pondering…
How do we honour the source of our inspiration?
How do we remind others and ourselves how grateful we should be for the delicious foods borrowed from other countries?
And, most importantly, how do we keep up to our mission of making a positive change?
That’s when we had the idea of donating 100% of the profits from the Chaga Chai Latte to an Indian charity.
And - I have to say - it was a GREAT idea, as it allowed us to make some of the most heart-warming, inspiring acquaintances of our entire lives.
Choosing the charity
If you ever feel overwhelmed by the suffering and unfairness going on in some parts of the world, remember this: there are also many people putting all of their efforts into helping others and making a positive difference.
We were absolutely amazed by how many incredible charities we found during the search for the perfect partner: the choice was so hard that we had to put it to the vote of every single employee at Vivo (yes, really!).
When all votes were in, all of our hearts jumped with joy as we found out that we were partnering with the Akanksha Education Fund – a non profit organization dedicated to educating underprivileged children and ending the cycle of poverty in India
There were three main reasons we wanted to work with Akanksha:
1.Education is the most powerful tool that we have to make a difference
In a world with so many problems to fix and causes that are worth fighting for, education is the one thing that can help all of them. Education has the power to reduce poverty, fight gender inequality, create a sustainable planet and shed light on pretty much all other injustices. This is why we figured that the best way to make an impact was to give our donations to a charity dedicated to empowering future generations.
2.Akanksha is driving a long-term and sustainable change
Akanksha is not only providing high quality education to children from low-income communities in India, but also creating a model with the aim of driving a wider systemic reform across the country. By suggesting the partnership of corporations and schools, they are laying the foundations for a solution to one of India’s biggest problems: the lack of opportunities for an enormous part of the population.
3.We fell in love with a lady called Chandrima
Chandrima was our first ever contact with Akanksha. Her big honest eyes told us how much she cared for the cause since our first ever Zoom call, where she was sitting in her lobby because of a faulty Internet connection.
I clearly remember holding back my tears whilst she told us Akanksha’s story, and how much she missed the children that she couldn’t see because of lockdown. Some things don’t need much explanation… you simply feel them. And this felt completely right.
A little more about Akanksha
After meeting Chandrima, we had an introductory videocall with the rest of the organization.
We met Gouri, the executive director, another incredible woman who talked us through what Akanksha is doing for the world.
And what makes Akanksha so special in my eyes is how they are doing things.
In fact, not only they are helping hundreds of children that wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to school otherwise, but they are doing it in fun way too!
Akanksha doesn’t just focus on hard skills like most schools in India, but it prioritizes art (where the children are NOT graded), yoga classes and other beautiful activities that really help its students to gain a creative, open-minded approach to life.
We were lucky enough to even meet Shruti, one of Akanksha’s graduates, who is now studying in the United States thanks to the organization. Shruti really touched us with her story, her intelligence and the willingness to help others in the same way that she had been helped herself.
After the meeting, everyone at Vivo was captured by some sort of euphoria, inspired by the love, the kindness and the strength that transpired from these incredible women.
At that point donating profits didn’t seem enough, and we all wanted to donate our time too. And this is why we are currently working on the possibility of organizing workshops between Vivo’s staff and Akanksha’s children, but that is another story …
A new chapter
We are incredibly proud of launching our first ever non-for-profit product, and partnering with such an incredible charity.
None of this could have happened without the collective efforts of hundreds of people: the ones working for Akanksha, the ones working for Vivo and – of course – the ones buying the Magic Chaga Chai Latte, without whom none of this would ever be possible!
Big Thank You to all.
I want to leave you with a quote by Arundhati Roy, another incredible Indian woman (as well as one of my favourite writers EVER):
"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget."
And to make sure that you never, never forget, we promise to keep you updated throughout our journey with Akanksha 😊
P.S – Our MAGIC Chai is also amazing for your health, and includes the incredible Chaga mushroom that’s been used in traditional European and Asian medicine for centuries. Find out more about the benefits here!