“We believe what you drink should not only taste good, it should be good for the land, good for the people who grow the ingredients and as good for you as a fizzy drink can be”
Karma Cola’s journey started back in 2010 when their first few bottles of cola were made using a bag of cola nuts sent by friends in Boma, a small village in the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone. According to Karma Cola the world drinks more than a million colas a minute, but none of the profits went back to the people who discovered this sweet nut. Karma Cola has in turn made it their mission to fix this.
“We set up the Karma Cola Foundation to make sure the people who grow our cola get something back from the people who drink it”
The people in Sierra Leone, who work with Karma Cola want the same basic needs we have, some we may take for granted sometimes. They want to send their kids to school and they want to be self-sufficient. Sometimes this can be as simple as having food stored safely away for the rainy season that will inevitably come. The Karma Cola Foundation gives cola farmers and their families this independence through trade and supporting projects to develop infrastructure and education.
“Karma is the ethos behind the business – the more Karma Cola we sell the more good we can do”
The Karma Cola Foundation doesn’t tell the people in the Tiwai Community what to do. The Tiwai community decide on the most important projects to fund, along with Karma Cola’s partners on the ground, German charity Welthungerhilfe and the African Agro Forestry Farmers Association. The Foundation is headed by Albert Tucker, a Fairtrade advocate and former director of Twin Trading and Divine Chocolate, both pioneering Fairtrade companies.
“To date, representatives of the community have decided to build the Makenneh Bridge, joining old and new Boma and ensuring the safe transportation of people and supplies”
They have also provided scholarships for more than 60 young children to go to school, supported five primary and secondary school teachers in a community run school teaching 270 children; built two rice-processing centres to secure food supply; supported an educational HIV/AIDS theatre group; erected meeting-houses (barri) and a guest house to rent out to visitors, funded medical supplies during the Ebola epidemic, rehabilitated rainforest farms, developed a seed bank for future seasons, helped a group of entrepreneurs start up their own small businesses, set up an adult literacy programme and trained community organisers and leaders.