Sips like these are made sweeter by the knowledge of their impact on others
Morgana Turner is a third-year student at the University of Regina who is being supported by Campus for All.
This semester, Turner is taking a Psychology of Women course that explores the lived conditions of women globally and the systems that impact them. As part of the class, students had the option to, “either write a paper, or do a fundraiser, or a fundraiser and a paper. I chose the hard thing, but it sounded fun to do a fundraiser,” said Turner.
Turner, who is passionate about social justice and equity issues, chose to fundraise for women in Nepal. “[These women] have been in bad situations, or they don’t have education. So, they are learning how to make products by weaving, making purses and whatever else,” she said. As part of the class, students are learning about the situations of women in the world.
Turner says she was drawn to choose fundraising rather than a paper because “it bothers me the way [people] are treated. And if I can do something, I am going to.” Turner’s mother has had a large influence on their activism and concern with social justice issues “because she works in [the area] of Missing and Murdered Indigenous [Women].” Turner says that she sees connections between the MMIWG2S crisis in Canada and the women in Nepal, noting that, “the women in Nepal might have it a bit different than here, but they are both treated horribly. Different, but similar.”
Nepal is a landlocked country lying along the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. It is situated between India in the East, South, and West and Tibet in the North. Until the early 1950s, during a palace revolt, Nepal was marked by policies of isolation which ensured that the country remained closed to the outside world. In 1955 the country was incorporated within the United Nations and in 2008, after several decades of turbulent negotiations, the country was declared a democratic republic. The capital city Kathmandu is the largest urban sprawl in the Kathmandu Valley region. Nepal is home to a multi-ethnic population with diverse cultures. Moreover, there are approximately 123 languages spoken in Nepal, the major one being Nepali, while others include Maithili, Tamag, Tharu, and Bhojpuri.
Working with the women in Nepal “was part of our class already, like my teacher had decided we were going to [support] them,” said Turner. This was based on already established relationships between the course instructor and the women supported by the Weaving for Life Project. As part of the class, students can choose to fundraise in any way and it was Turner who chose to do so through tea sales. Fundraising is new to Turner, who had no idea what to expect starting out, and says, “it’s a learning experience.”
Turner says the hardest thing thus far has been “[the] politics. So, we did the application, but then we had to wait for the company [I am working with] to get back to us. And then in Nepal they don’t have an address, so you just kind of have to ask people.”
Although the challenge of fundraising is a new one, Turner is well connected and supported by her friends who have previously worked with the company supporting her initiative.
“We were playing Dungeons & Dragons and I happened to interrupt and ask [about the class assignment]. And said I wanted to do fundraising,” Turner explains. “And then Annissa said ‘Well, we can do the tea fundraiser’ and then we got together and did the application.”
Funds raised through the tea sales will go to the Weaving for Life Project. Weaving for Life is a non-governmental non-profit women’s aid project based in Pokhara, Nepal. The project focuses on women and girls who have experienced social or economic neglect. These include women and girls who are widows, people with disabilities, or those fleeing situations of violence. Through various programming initiatives, the Weaving for Life Project provides access to education, health care, and a safe space to discuss topics such as menstruation, sexual violence, or experiences of trafficking.
The Weaving for Life Project was founded by Tara, a Nepali mother of three. After having undergone a surgery, she was sent to the countryside to recover. While there, Tara learnt the art of weaving and brought back the knowledge she gained to her home city. Tara’s first project was CHETNA and founded in Pokhara. All of Tara’s efforts were made without her husband’s support, but she continued to sell tea and eventually reinvested her earnings to train women in weaving.
Turner’s fundraising website is now live and accessible for those interested in supporting her initiative. In order to raise funds, Turner has partnered with the company Sipology. Sipology’s founding idea was that “one cup of tea can change a life.” Each item is $15, and 40 per cent of the sale goes to the Weaving for Life Project. There are seven different tea blends available with names like raspberry cream soda, cinnamon bun, and unicorn kisses. In addition, Turner has several teaware items available for purchase.
According to Annissa, Turner’s friend who supported her in connecting with Sipology, those interested in the cinnamon bun blend should add a bit of milk to their cup for the best experience of the flavour. For some of the more ‘fruity’ blends, like raspberry cream soda and bubbly cherry bomb, brewers should try making them as an iced tea and adding honey.
While the minimum fundraising goal is $150, Turner says, “I want to do $500 but I don’t know if that’s realistic.” The fundraiser will run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5, 2023. Orders must be placed by November 5 with a two week wait for shipping time. For those interested in the fundraiser, but who do not drink tea, Turner is accepting donations that can be made directly to the Weaving for Life Project.
For more information, please scan the QR code or contact Morgana Turner directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.