By purchasing a humble takeaway coffee in Oratia, West Aucklanders can help support the ongoing development of an orphanage in India.
Glen Eden father-of-four Jason Baird, 40, started his business Sozo Coffee in November last year, setting up a coffee cart outside the Oratia Settlers Hall on West Coast Rd.
Twenty cents of every cup of coffee sold goes towards funding the Village of Hope orphanage that Baird and his family helped build in the village of Tegalamada in Araku Valley.
Baird has been involved with volunteer work over in India for a number of years through the New Zealand Church Missionary Society.
"I've taken teams of young people through India," Baird says. "We've done everything from cleaning streets to helping in orphanages and have worked with local churches over there."
After taking his wife and three of his daughters to live there in 2009 to help out at the Village of Hope orphanage, Baird returned home wanting to do more.
"We came back to New Zealand and I started asking everyone for $30 a month to sponsor a child and that just got quite hard to do, it wasn't fun," Baird says.
"You always feel like you're asking for free money so I had to come up with another way."
It was then that Baird remembered a coffee plantation that was "a stone's throw from the village" and thought "coffee is the way to go".
Not only does Baird work as a barrister but he also sources his own coffee beans from certified growers, roasts them and develops his own unique blends.
By selling his beans to local businesses such as Coffee Studio at the Corban Estate Arts Centre, Baird has been raising even more money for the orphanage, donating "a couple of dollars" from every bag sold.
To date, Sozo Coffee has raised close to $2500 for the orphanage.
They aim to raise $350 a month just through coffee sales as this will completely fund the orphanage, Baird says.
While the West Auckland barrister has since been back to the orphanage, which today is run by a local husband and wife, the rest of the family are yet to revisit.
"It's a bit expensive to go back and we've got to weigh that up," Baird says.
He operates his coffee cart outside the Oratia Settlers Hall Monday to Friday from 6am to 11am and is available to work at events where coffee is needed.
For more information about Baird's work visit sozocoffee.co.nz.
- Western Leader
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