Ethical is Chique!
OpenHand came to life in 1999 when South Africans Christiaan & Cor Bosman dedicated their talents & creativity to serving those in need in India.
“As Westerners we have endless resources, connections on all levels, we grew up in healthy environments and were able to go to good educational institutions. We have so much. What would happen if we used all of those resources to serve the poor? What good could come from using our creativity to uplift the poor?” says Cor while thinking over those initial years.
“We pursued various avenues to do good varying from organizing medical work, community development, social work and all the way down to physically taking care of the poor. In all these areas we felt either ill equipped, uninformed or short in funds (or all three!). Some of these precious people held on to us like survivors do to a life raft. Speaking to them of hope and encouraging them to hold on and believe in a new tomorrow became mere words after seeing their desperate situations remain desperate, unchanged and the hope diminish from their eyes.”
They realized there must be a way to generate funds outside of a charitable structures and use those funds to benefit the poor.
“With tons of excitement & creativity plus the little funds we had we started our first café called OpenHand Café & Shop Varanasi. Today 18 years later it is still running. It has given training and opportunities to scores of local people, from rickshaw pullers, auto wallas, farmers and folks from all levels of life in India. At the same time we served weary travelers & pilgrims freshly baked cakes, simple meals and great coffee, all of which were hard to find in those days.”
It was a win-win formula. Today we operate cafes across North India and manufacture in New Delhi. Our beautiful products are our pride. The smiles on the faces of our staff are our rewards. Not only are our products sold in our own retail outlets but we export them across the globe.
“Our products tell our story. When people pick up a beautiful product they should buy it because it is beautiful and they like it. When they find out it was made by ethical producers they should be pleased. We want the world to know that the poor are only normal people like us and if given an opportunity most will take it and run with it.