chai pani giving


In July, 2018, Chai Pani Restaurant Group made a long-term commitment to financially support two students in India: Dipali Kadam and Anu Madival. In partnership with the non-profit Dharavi Diary, Chai Pani will offer full university scholarships for girls that cover room and board, transportation costs, university fees, and tutoring.

This partnership came to be through our friends Jennifer MacDonald and Vanessa Bell, who run the Asheville based non-profit HADAYA, a grass-roots organization dedicated to helping refugees and at-risk youth build a better future through the power of books and play.

Chai Pani has been connected to HADAYA for many years, through give-back nights they’ve held at Chai Pani, and other fundraising initiatives. Earlier this year, HADAYA approached us to take on their scholarship commitment to Dipali and Anu, as they refocus their organization, and we couldn’t be more excited.

In fact, Charlotte Stack, our Director of Operations, and Molly Milroy, our Media and Communications Director, had the opportunity to go to Dharavi and meet Nawneet Ranjan, who run the Dharavi Diary non-profit, as well as meet Anu, one of the students who we are now supporting. 

Here's a snippet from their experience in Dharavi: 

“When Charlotte and I walked into the Dharavi slum, we were astounded and saddened. Imagining trying to navigate life in the slum, especially as a child, was heartbreaking.

When we met with Anu, one of the students we support, we talked to her about growing up in in the Dharavi slum. We learned how impossible it is to get ahead, how poverty is cyclical and generational, and how access to education is nearly impossible after a certain age. 50% of girls in India are married before the age of 18, and only 15% of females are employed in the workforce due to lack of qualifications or proper training.

Education is truly the key to independence and long-term security.

When we walked from the Dharavi slum into the Dharavi Diary center, the energy completely shifted. Instead of the intense atmosphere of the slum, it suddenly felt supportive, comforting, and safe. Students were deep in their studies sitting with their tutors. Older kids were helping younger kids figure out math problems. Kids were chatting with us about their next soccer match they were attending with Nawneet. Kids were learning coding and designing auto-cad and apps on donated computers. They were proud, happy, and thriving. You could tell that this was a good thing happening in the midst of the Dharavi slum. The biggest thing that we could sense is that these kids now have the support, encouragement and means to positively alter the trajectory of their lives.

They’ve seen generation upon generation of their families stuck in one place. But because of Nawneet, Dharavi Diary, and Chai Pani, educational opportunities, support, and encouragement are all now within an arm's reach."

Click on the video below to learn more. If you're interested in hosting a fundraising event, supporting additional students, or have other questions please email


Chai Pani scholarship recipient

Anu is a brilliant fifteen year old girl from the Dharavi slum of Mumbai, India. A few years ago, she lost her father in a road accident and her mother has struggled to keep the family afloat ever since. They live in a tiny 10 by 10 room with no running water or kitchen and only intermittent electricity with their extended family. Anu loves to read stories, is gifted at science and technology and has been internationally recognized for her work developing apps designed to help her community. She has already had a huge positive impact. Chai Pani is helping her go further by funding a full scholarship for University. She is the first person in her family to have this opportunity. 


Chai Pani scholarship recipient

Dipali is a talented fifteen year old girl, also from the Dharavi neighborhood of Mumbai, India. She is a gifted artist and loves nature and astronomy. She can frequently be found in the Dharavi Community center helping other students with work and encouraging them to do their best. She spends much of her time there, in a large part, because of her difficult home life. Chai Pani is helping her finish High School and University in a boarding environment where she will be safe and able to focus on her studies. Dipali has expressed interest in becoming a teacher and working with children in her community. 


Founder, Dharavi Diary

Nawneet is a documentary filmmaker who uses his storytelling to bring about social change. In 2014, he launched Dharavi Diary: A Slum Innovation Project. The program educates approximately 200 children, and uses technology to create products that ease life for Dharavi residents or inspire advancement in society. For example, girls are learning an increasingly in-demand skill: coding. They are developing mobiles apps that directly address major concerns within the slum, such as lack of a clean water, sanitation, and even sexual assault. They are proving that slum residents are capable of solving critical issues when given the tools and opportunity.

Ansuja, Dipali and Roshani share their impact story. Video credit: Nawneet Ranjan.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has"

- margaret meade

We believe that being a part of a community is about giving back, about making a difference, about taking a stand. Chai Pani Giving is about thinking outside the box, about using food, and labor, and love to make a difference to those in need.



One Wednesday a month, Chai Pani partners with a local charitable organization to raise awareness for their cause and we donate 10% of that day's sales to the organization.

To learn more, or to submit an organization for consideration, please email: giving



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