This coming Saturday, May 12th, there’s a unique opportunity for the residents of Perth to enjoy competition coffee, community, and the chance to contribute to a unique charity with deep roots in the Indian coffee community. The folks at 5 Senses (Perth chapter) have put together an event to benefit the Nanhi Kali Project, a charitable organization that provides direct aid to the daughters of impoverished coffee farmers in India’s Araku Valley. The NKP is managed by a larger charitable organization, the Naandi Foundation, “one of the largest and fastest growing social sector organizations in India working to make poverty history.”
These stories don’t often make their way to the United States, so this was all new information for us, but we think it’s fascinating and important, and so we’ll go into a bit more detail. The Araku Valley is a coffee and pepper producing region, and in concert with the Naandi Foundation, this region hosts an annual international cupping event, called “Gems of Araku“. Deeply involved with this Gems event is a woman named Sunalini Menon, whose Wiki reads like a Nobel Prize resume, and who was, in 2010, the recipient of the CQI’s prestigious Leadership Medal of Merit award. She is the reason why 5 Senses became involved with the Naandi Foundation, the “Gems of Araku” cupping series, and the Nanhi Kali Project itself.
We talked with Jennifer Murray, who runs QC and is the green coffee manager for 5 Senses, and she gave us some more details on Nanhi Kali:
The Nanhi Kali Project is about giving the girls access to education of which many of them would never have the opportunity to do, as well as providing them with a midday meal, a Naandi project that reaches far beyond just the Araku Valley.
I’ve spent the last two years taking part in the Gems of Araku and we are committed to working with this project in the long term. We are in very close contact with the group and working out positive ways to move forward as we feel strongly connected to the cause, the region and the potential these coffees have to offer. For the last two years I have spent a number of days each trip visiting the schools of all ages and it’s a wonderful thing to see firsthand the impact the success of the farmers as well on the on-going support and commitment of the NKP has provided to this region.
It’s exciting and inspiring for us to learn more about the Nanhi Kali Project, and the work being done by the Naandi Foundation in the Araku Valley. Fine Indian coffees very seldom make their way to the North American market, and we’re quite keen to have the opportunity to taste some of these “Gems” and learn more. In the meantime, if you happen to find yourself in Western Australia this Saturday, you really gotta go to this event.
It happens at 9am at Standing Room Only, Picadilly Arcade, and features competition coffees and shots pulled by some of Perth’s finest baristas, including Ron Ngo, Juliana Nobre, Michael Munroe, and Gabe Tan. Attendees are asked to make a direct donation to the Nanhi Kali Project at the door.