Aura Chai’s CCEO (Chief Chai Enthusiasm Officer!) Rose explains a little bit more about our commitment to sharing our success and giving back to those who most need support.
When I started Aura Chai my aim was always to build a kind, compassionate business that was able to benefit others. I didn’t want to become another huge company making lots of money without sharing it out and making a difference. I genuinely believe that there is plenty for everyone in this world, and that if you have the resources you should share them with others to make it a better place for everyone!
It has taken a couple of years but I am so pleased to say that we are finally at the stage where we can regularly give a portion of our profits to charity. Initially I hoped to choose a different charity each month, but for now I have decided to support one charity for three months at a time so that they can get as much money as possible whilst we are still growing. In the future we would love to be able to give to lots of charities each and every month.
For now the charities will be on a three-month rotation, so we can support four charities each year. I have spent some time carefully selecting charities to support. This was tough because of course there are so many worthy causes! I have chosen causes close to my heart – concerning female empowerment, animal rescue, conservation, caring for children and wildlife protection.
This is such an important part of Aura Chai and I am so pleased to finally be able to do this. As much as possible we ensure that we are an ethical, caring company – sourcing fair-trade ingredients, reducing waste (working towards zero waste), using biodegradable packaging. This is just the next step on our exciting journey!
I also want people to feel good about giving to themselves. It’s nice to know that when you treat yourself to something you are also helping someone else!
Charities we support in 2020
Here are my chosen charities for 2020. I deliberately chose smaller organisations who receive less exposure rather than the ones people are most familiar with. Read a little more about each one below!
International Animal Rescue
I found out about this charity last year when my lovely partner got me some gifts for the animals as part of my Christmas present 💕 I have always loved animals and felt an affinity with them, and as a vegan I do my best to promote peace and reduce harm to animals wherever possible. I chose International Animal Rescue as one of our charities because they work on several continents with a wide variety of animals. They deal with the most acute cases of cruelty, sadly most of which are inflicted by humans.
International Animal Rescue’s vision is for a world where animals and humans can peacefully co-exist in sustainable eco-systems. Part of their ongoing campaign is to work with communities and people to educate them and support them, reducing the human impact on animals. This involves fighting cruelty, such as dancing bears, elephants in circuses and the illegal pet trade. They also share awareness regarding key issues affecting native wildlife and causing habitat loss such as beef farming and palm oil plantations.
I also chose International Animal Rescue because the organisation works with so many different species – from slow loris and orang-utans to bears, monkeys and birds. They save animals from suffering with an aim of rehabilitating and releasing them back into the wild. Where this isn’t possible the animals are kept safe and cared for in specialist sanctuaries.
Lend with Care
I have been personally giving to this wonderful cause for a few years now. It is an extension of the charity CARE International UK, ‘micro financing’ entrepreneurs and small business owners in developing countries to help them to prosper and grow.
Lend With Care involves depositing money into an account, then sharing that with entrepreneurs around the world. Each entrepreneur has a profile sharing what they do and why they need money to expand their business. There are business owners all over the world – in Cambodia, Palestine, Ecuador and Zambia. They all have different interests – from banana plantations and coffee growers to hairdressers and clothes making.
I chose Lend With Care because it gives entrepreneurs in developing countries an opportunity to grow their businesses and support their families and communities. It is especially empowering for women in many regions who are able to become self-sufficient and make real, lasting changes to their lives and those around them.
I also love the fact that when repayments come in on the loan periodically they are automatically reinvested either with the same person or someone new, so we can all help each other as we grow.
Loans start at £15, so we will deposit the money each month into an account then share that out between several entrepreneurs. In line with our vegan values we don’t support any livestock farming or exploitation of animals.
Miracle’s Mission/Soi Dog Foundation/Street Hearts BG/Every Life Counts/Dogs 4 Rescue
Dogs are a huge part of my life. When I’m not working or travelling, one of my favourite things to do is spend time with them at my local rescue, Dogs 4 Rescue. Meeting and working with these dogs has truly changed my life. They are sometimes broken from abuse, and yet they learn to love and trust again. It is so rewarding simply spending time with them and I feel very honoured to have been able to do so.
I couldn’t choose between these charities so I have included them all to share the portion of profits between them. Here is a little about each one:
Dogs 4 Rescue
I feel very honoured and privileged to be able to call Emma and Lou my friends and to have spent so much time at this wonderful place! Based in Irlam, Manchester, Dogs 4 Rescue save and support dogs both here and in the UK who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance. This is not an ordinary rescue – it is in fact unique and very special for a number of reasons. It is the only free running rescue of its kind in the UK – no kennels or cages. Dogs are able to interact, form friendships and learn to trust again in a safe and loving environment. To date over 1000 dogs have been saved, including disabled and traumatised dogs who stay on in the dedicated sanctuary. There are also plenty of farmies saved from animal agriculture including Theresa the turkey, Barney the pig and ___the goat. Supporting Dogs 4 Rescue allows them to continue their vital work and an expansion to the revolutionary rescue to enable them to save and support more dogs in need.
Every Life Counts
Every Life Counts is a very small, little-known organisation based in Romania, run by Ioana Marascu. Romania is a hell on earth for stray dogs and other animals, of which there are many. Sadly people do not care for them as we do here, and dogs are routinely abandoned, maimed and killed or simply left to fend for themselves with terrible injuries and health conditions. Ioana and help when there is nobody else for these dogs to turn to. The aim for them is to be able to save, rehabilitate and rehome the dogs, often in the UK. They are in desperate need of donations to carry on running the rescue at full capacity, as they encounter more dogs in need on a daily basis. As well as dogs the couple take in other animals such as cats and even care for some rescued sheep. They also feed starving strays who are especially in need of support during bitterly cold winter months.
Soi Dog Foundation
Soi Dog Foundation is based in Asia, dedicated to ending suffering for cats and dogs. They deal with the terribly distressing reality of an out of control stray situation throughout the continent, but predominantly work in Thailand. Specialist rescuers and vets work with dogs and cats who have suffered terrible injuries and illnesses allowed to fester without proper care and attention. Their spay, neuter and vaccination programme also actively works to solve the wider issue. By 2025 they hope that the programme will result in a massively reduced number of strays in Phuket.
When we lived in Thailand we witnessed the stray dog situation first-hand. The dogs we met in the street, at temples and on the beach were gentle, sweet and just wanted love and food. Soi Dog Foundation ensures that they have access to the basic care and kindness they deserve.
Miracles Mission is another small charity based in the UK, helping dogs in need worldwide, often strays or victims of terrible human abuse. As an animal welfare charity it protects homeless dogs and cats with veterinary support and spay/neuter initiatives. Most of the animals the charity works with are sick, injured or disabled, but they are each given an equal chance no matter what their circumstances may be or how they may have started out in life. The charity works in Borneo, Malaysia and Egypt. Its name was inspired by little Miracle, who was rescued from the streets of Borneo when she was only a few days old. Despite her terrible start in life she made a full recovery and is now the face of this wonderful organisation, which helps animals like her to live healthy, happy lives with loving families.
War Child UK
Many of us have seen the devastating impact that wars (often waged by adult men who orchestrate them from the safety of secure compounds) can have on innocent people, especially children. As a passionate opponent of war and conflict the tragic effect it can have on little ones who become implicated through no fault of their own is heartbreaking for me to witness.
I spent some time researching charities supporting children in most needed areas, and I feel so lucky to have found War Child. They focus on supporting children who have been displaced, traumatised, injured and/or orphaned as a result of conflict. The charity helps children affected by war in a number of ways, including education, protection, health care, emotional and financial support. It provides humanitarian relief where needed but currently focuses most on nine countries including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine and Uganda.
I chose War Child because they are incredibly genuine – and are very transparent about exactly where the money donated goes and how it it used. 84% of donations go directly to helping the children – the rest is spent on essential admin costs and raising awareness to encourage further donations.
You can read stories from some of children on their website – what they have been through is truly devastating but they also share the amazing impact of the charity’s inspiring work.