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Early International Development

Our international development programs now empower communities in more than 120 countries, and it all began with the world’s very first fair-trade venture.

An international first

In 1898 we began importing unblended tea, repackaging it and selling it in Australia as “Hamodava Tea” – Sinhalese for “Salvation”. The profits were used to raise funds for social services in Australia and help return poor Sri Lankan farmers to the land to grow more tea for import – a fair-trade initiative decades ahead of the rest of the world. The venture led to the establishment of the original Hamodava Coffee and Tea House in Melbourne. This was the first place in the world to serve fair-trade tea and coffee, and employed the needy to re-bag it for sale Australia-wide.

A fitting tribute

In tribute to the world’s first fair-trade venture, Melbourne’s Hamodava Café is operating once again. Much more than a welcoming community centre providing breakfast, lunch and support to those who need it, the café is the home of excellent coffee. It’s a place where a wide range of Melburnians come together to build relationships and share in a sense of community – a continuation of the spirit of Hamodava Tea all those years ago.