Total loan: $7,500


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Charlottesville, VA, United States / Retail

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A loan helped us jumpstart mindfulness in our community, hire women and serve fair trade teas.

Elias's story

Elias was born in Manchester NH, in the winter of 1990. After an early adoption, he spent his childhood as an ordinary kid - his family and friends call him by the nickname "Buddy". From a young age, he remembers having thoroughly enjoyed a cup of tea. Those first memories of being served PG tips from his mother, the kettle roaring in the background, patiently waiting for a cupa' tea with a heavy dose of milk and sugar. If that sounds like the start of an adventure, it's probably because it was. Leaving home to venture out into the world, Elias began studying International Business at Bryant University, concentrating in Finance and Entreprenuership, where he would become interested in and take a course on microfinance lending. His first international trip would be the to the land that created those PG Tips, a month later in a brief study abroad, he would wind up serving tea to his peers in the National Tea Museum of China. At the age of 24, fortune would have it that he was recruited to an International Graduate Trainee Program with Delhaize, a multinational food retailer, which fostered personal growth for future business leaders. At that time, Elias realized it was time to take personal growth outside the scope of business leadership and so set off to study and master zen 'sitting meditation'. Finding himself in Charlottesville, VA he took work as a Tennis Instructor and in Real Estate and Wealth Management, and dedicated himself to zen practice. After 7 years of periods with intensive practice in England, the United States and Japan, he invites others to share in the experience of 'just sitting and having tea'.