Indian curries are well known across the world for their rich flavours, unique aromas and mouthwatering tastes. Indian mums often cook up a storm in their Kadhais (traditional round pots used for cooking curries), with a variety of spices and herbs, and you can't help falling in love with each meal.

Indian restaurants are popular across countries, and everyone can mention the names of at least a few of the oh-so-tasty dishes, like the famous Butter Chicken or Tandoori. While these delicacies are undoubtedly delicious, home cooked curries from an Indian family's kitchen has a different and unbeatable culinary charm that most people have never experienced (I am Indian, and I can confirm this!).

But three food enthusiasts decided to turn this around and bring a part of the Indian cooking tradition into the German kitchens. And that's how the story of Collegecurries began.

Collegecurries: Food with a Purpose!

The concept is quite simple. Surya Ormeloh, Nils Lalleike and Günter Rother, co-founded a new initiative called the Collegecurries, which involves selling of authentic curry powder mixtures based on original recipes from Indian housewives. But this was not another of those money making endeavours that capitalises on the efforts and resources of others. The initiative goes a step ahead and the money earned from the purchase of the powder mixes in turn enables the children of these housewives to attend college.

With College Curries, they wanted to take the concept of wealth further and use the intellectual property of an ordinary housewife to pay for education. "This also changes the image of the woman within her family," explains Surya.

"This way we avoid handing out alms, make the families in India partners on an equal footing, and preserve a piece of culinary tradition. We want to give the students the chance to develop their potential and to rise socio-economically through education at a university."

The story began when Surya and Nils, who have lived in India and tasted the authentic curries from Indian homes, were once met with a request for helping Renuka financially and pay for her college. While they knew that they wanted to help her, they did not want to reinforce the age old idea and style of “giving for the poor” campaigns, that are always short lived and does not change the situation for many others who would like to study. What they needed was something long term, that would send people like Renuka back to schools, but not as a free voucher, but rather establishing a fair trade. Thus was borne the idea of exchanging recipes for Indian curry mixes on behalf of money that can fund college education.

Why should you buy this?

Less than 50% of Indian women are enrolled in higher education. (Source)

Many are married off before they reach that age, while others cannot afford to pay for the education.  So apart from the fact that what is paid contributes in helping students in India to continue education, there are several other reasons!

  • Quality and Hygiene - The mixtures are produced in Germany following the original recipes shared by the Indian families. This means that all the standards in Germany and Europe are maintained when it comes to food hygiene. And since these are locally procured and not flown 2000 miles from India, it contributes to a carbon-neutral future.
The website offers Indian recipes, stories about students who are going to colleges from this initiative, and the option of buying the curry powder mixes. Picture Courtesy:
The website offers Indian recipes, stories about students who are going to colleges from this initiative, and the option of buying the curry powder mixes. Picture Courtesy:
  • Organic certification - The ingredients used are all organically produced, with a conscious effort to not burden the planet and the people who work in production with unnecessary toxins.
  • Affordable -  The business model began without large initial investments and is reasonably priced, especially considering that you can have a little jar of Indian tradition parcelled up to your doorstep!

Header Picture: Jason Leung