Fair Trade Organic Tea Growers in China Invest in Children’s Education

With the extra money earned through Fair Trade certification, tea growers in the Jiangxi province of southeast China fund scholarships, classrooms, and school supplies for their community.

At the heart of China’s golden tea triangle in Jiangxi, while tea pickers are at work during the day, classrooms buzz with activity. This makes tea growers like He Dongzhi proud. He is a member of a Fair Trade organic tea farmers’ association that has earned funds through Fair Trade certification to support scholarships, buildings, and classroom materials for children in their community.

Classrooms in Jiangxi show the power of Fair Trade Certified™ purchases to impact the individual and community well-being of the people behind a cup of Fair Trade Certified tea. This time of year, with thoughts and conversations pointed toward health and wellness, we linger on ways Fair Trade contributes, beginning in the bright-green, sloping countryside of Jiangxi.

Nestled in the foggy Wuyuan Mountains along China’s green tea golden triangle, Dazhangshan Organic Tea Farmers Association maintains a 1,200-year-old reputation for growing exceptional tea. On top of the humid climate, rich soil, and heavy rainfall that make fertile land for growing tea, the farmers have made an extra choice to abide by long-term organic farming practices which forbid chemical fertilizers and pesticides, making the land healthier for the plants and the farmers. While the organic practices continually strengthen the soil and tea trees, they also require extra labor to battle weeds and pests. Through Fair Trade certification, Dazhangshan is rewarded for their commitment to healthy farming practices. One way is through Fair Trade’s  Community Development Funds.

It works like this: each time you buy tea or other Fair Trade Certified products, you help drive additional money back to the people who made that product according to rigorous environmental and working standards. To them, that’s extra money to cover scholarships, buildings, and classroom materials. A number of schools, including Dazhangshan Middle school, have received additional financial and material support from Fair Trade’s Community Development Funds.

"We produce quality tea for consumers everywhere—and with Fair Trade support, this quality benefits us as well,” said He Dongzhi. “My nephew received scholarships from the tea farmer association to support his studies in middle and high school. This only makes me more proud to be working within the Fair Trade network and I hope to continue our cooperation."

“My nephew received scholarships from the tea farmer association to support his studies in middle and high school. This only makes me more proud to be working within the Fair Trade network." - He Dongzhi

Several miles away in neighboring Wuyuan County, school is in session at Xitou Elementary School. Many of the students here are from organic tea farming families that work with Fair Trade through farmer associations like Wuyuan Xitou and benefit from Fair Trade.

Jiang Fengzu, 69, was one of the first members to join the Organic Tea Farmer cooperative and start working with Fair Trade. "I'm grateful to have been able to produce quality tea and help my community at the same time,” she says. “With support from the premiums on Fair Trade sales, we've assisted children’s education, helped with medical bills, planted trees, trained upcoming farmers, and constructed roads and even street lamps."

"I'm grateful to have been able to produce quality tea and help my community at the same time.” - Jiang Fengzu

Wuyuan Xitou was one of the first Tea Farmers Associations in China to become Fair Trade Certified, and since 2005, has transformed into a vibrant producer organization focused on producing high-quality, organic teas. In past years, the workers of Wuyuan Xitou have prioritized education in the spending of their Community Development Funds, setting aside money to provide scholarships for university studies.

A tea picker at work in Dazhangshan Gardens, Wuyuan, Jiangxi province, China

School children studying in Dazhangshan Middle school, one of a number of schools that have received financial and material support from Fair Trade Community Development Funds through the Dazhangshan Organic Tea Farmers Association. Many of the students at the school are children of tea farmers.

He Dongzhi, 65, picks tea at a Fair Trade Certified tea garden

Students from Xitou Elementary School play near a wall surrounding the campus, built with the support of Fair Trade Community Development Funds. Many of the students in this community are from organic tea farming families that work with Fair Trade USA.

Help us create more success stories like these. Be sure to check out Fair Trade’s health and wellness shopping guide to see how your self-care can be a powerful force for global wellness.


SHOP THE GUIDE