National School of Journalism (NSoJ) Bureau, Bangalore: Bengaluru was the host of its third chapter of Coffee Santhe, an annual fundraising event where people from all sectors of the coffee value chain- growers and exporters to people in retail markets, came together to brew coffee for charity.
The Santhe (meaning market in Kannada) was held recently at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. It was organized by the Women’s Coffee Alliance (WCA) India, a body of coffee lovers who work towards the empowerment of less privileged women in the coffee value chain. “WCA – India chapter was started to look after the welfare of women labourers working in various coffee plantations all across India. The proceeds of this santhe will go to the education of girl children of the plantation workers,” said Radhika Uthappa, President of WCA, India.
Apart from the delectable aroma of freshly brewed coffee, good music kept spirits high as people flocked in large numbers to experience this carnival. A large array of stalls with an assorted range of coffees and their new blends, brands, brewing trends and equipment were all grandly displayed. A huge attraction of the santhe was the artwork made with coffee. Paintings and portraits were exhibited, purely made out of coffee, done with immense precision. “It’s a versatile, fun medium of art,” said Dheeraj Gadicherla, owner of Distractor Coffee Art. He has recently launched a series of portraits of women which he calls the Shakti series. “I painted these women nude because I wanted to convey a strong message that a woman can be dressed in whatever fashion she desires and yet be respected. She is a symbol of Shakti (power). Initially I got a lot of flak for it, but then a lot of women appreciated my work and the concept behind it,” he said.
Along with art that inspires and speaks volumes, clothes, jewellery and healthcare products were in abundance, with women entrepreneurs from all over India standing unified on a shared platform.
The event also witnessed the national women’s brewing skills championship judged by Mery Sentos, the president of International Women’s Coffee Alliance. “It is great to see so many women come together and connect,” she said. The santhe also hosted an art competition for children and celebrated World Disability Day on December 3, an initiative by Hatti Kaapi where disabled workers of the coffee chain were acknowledged and felicitated.
“Apart from focusing on education of women in the coffee sector, the WCA-I is also working towards another initiative- health camps for women who do not have access to proper healthcare or cannot afford it. For now, we are supporting around 20 families, and that might seem like a drop in the ocean but I am glad that we have at least made a start,” said Sunalini Menon, President of Coffeelab Limited, India.
What made the whole event successful were the people who gathered together, with a shared love for coffee. “I read about the event in a newspaper and I knew I couldn’t miss the chance to taste some of the best coffees available. I didn’t expect to find such variety. And it’s a fun event for a good cause, so it’s a win-win situation for coffee lovers like me,” said Meghna, a student of Bangalore University. 7th Sin, Asia’s first all women run food truck based out of Bengaluru was also present, extending a warm hand of comradeship with the noble cause of Coffee Santhe.