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Education of Girls in the Developing World & How Le Dessein Helps

If women in the developing countries completed secondary education, 3 million children under the age of 5 would be saved every year.

This unfortunate statistic by the I.M.F. is just one the many plights young girls and women in general are facing in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

Here are some more startling facts:

1) More than 115 million 6 to 12-year old children are not in school in the developing world; three-fifths of them are girls.

2) When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

3) A woman with six or more years of education is more likely to seek prenatal care, assisted childbirth, and postnatal care, reducing the risk of maternal and child mortality and illness.

4) When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

5) Today, the U.S. invests in its future by spending about $6,800 a year per primary student on public education. In Iran the figure is $156 per student per year, in India $64, in Laos $30, and in Rwanda, $30.

6) An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.

Young girls in developing nations have not been given the attention they highly deserve in education. Yet they have the undeniable power to help uplift their communities out of poverty through education and the earning power it will generate. 

Through fashion, art, and socially responsible actions, we’ve designed a way to get involved. Le Dessein is a fashion line aimed at funding the education of underprivileged girls around the world by featuring their designs on our fashion. We then contribute 25% of our proceeds to the girls’ yearly school tuition.

The nature of our effort is not just monetary – our ultimate vision is to create independence and freedom through the empowerment of our girls. A critical component of this whole vision being self esteem – we were adamant on making sure that our girls would be intimately tied to the creation of the designs which would end up on garments. The success of their artistic journey through their participation and engagement would create a profound sense of OWNERSHIP, which is essential in affecting one’s self-esteem. Indeed, we wanted to demark ourselves from the traditional form of aid towards developing countries, which has consisted mainly of charity, and instead have “ownership” be the driving factor in maintaining this self-sustaining endeavor.

Creating an impact in these young girls’ lives will take collective effort from various committed parties. Inculcating the notion of “Ownership” though noble, can be an arduous task and required collaboration. And we’ve had the fortune and pleasure of being aligned with the More Than Me Foundation – “The More Than Me Foundation is on a mission to make sure education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, define the lives of the most vulnerable girls from the West Point Slum of Liberia.” Its motto is: “When she graduates, she will decide what comes next for her life.”

Indeed, for our girls, this is about reclaiming and redefining their own sense of self. For far too long, girls and women from the developing world have been subjected to a strongly patriarchal society – a society where their “value” was unilaterally decided by men – So “Ownership” to us is simply the final destination defined by an effort that consists of arming our girls and presenting them with opportunities susceptible to make this journey a worthy one.

Our fashion line is elegant and sophisticated and aims at serving a market that for too long has had to sacrifice quality and design for purpose and mission.


Learn more about Le Dessein.

Learn more about the More Than Me Foundation.

Read about Zady, another clothing company with a conscience.




Eric is the founder and CEO of Le Dessien. Eric grew up in Dakar, Senegal, where he was influenced by his mother's passion, drive, and fashion sense at a young age. His mother would eventually inspire him to start Le Dessein. He attended UCLA Business School and began his career in investment banking.



MEET: Jerri Chou, Founder of The Feast

Jerri ChouJerri was named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business. In 2008, she started The Feast, a two day summit for remarkable innovators, leaders, and creatives, where brilliant social impact solutions are born from creative collaborations across multiple disciplines. It will take place October 9-11 in Brooklyn this year.

What inspired you to create The Feast? Was there any specific moment that motivated its creation?

We had built a community of highly talented, inspired and passionate people and that community was growing across the country. I quit my day-job to figure out what my role in supporting this community was. We created the conference because there wasn’t yet a place for people like us, a place that could bring together leading thinkers and doers to talk about changing the world, and to do so across multiple disciplines. We all brought different perspective to the table, whether we were in business, philanthropy, creative fields, you name it.

How has creating The Feast changed you personally?

That’s a big question. Creating The Feast has changed me in so many ways; I’ve learned what it takes to start a company, and I’ve developed my business savvy and focus along the way. The Feast has taught me how to define value, as well as what impact can mean (what it takes to create large-scale change, but that you can also create impact through small actions and big ideas). At the same time, focusing too much on the business has also really made me understand the importance of community and true connections, and that having the goal of a well-rounded life is actually a better way to measure success, because it defines the structures that you set into place for your business and yourself. Throughout this change, I’ve also become much more zen about everything. There are so many changes and unexpected hurdles that you encounter when you start something like this; I’ve learned to appreciate my role in this world with grace and faith that it will all happen as it should, all while doing my best to build something great that will impact as many people as possible. I’ve been thinking a lot about power over force in particular lately. Throughout it all, I will continue to evolve as a person, with the best yet to come. 

What do you think separates The Feast from other conferences aimed at creating a better world?

The Feast has been described as an art project, a burlesque show, a populist CGI, and so many other fun things, and it has that feeling more than other conferences. We are about making and doing so there’s an energy in the room that’s truly palpable. At The Feast 2014, there will be an artist creating a boat out of the conference trash that he’s going to row from Red Hook to Battery Park City. There is a hardware hackathon for Red Hook in support of FEMA. There is no shortage of people offering tangible feedback to one another other and creating remarkable scenarios for the future. I don’t know of any other conference that is that action-oriented and brings together so many different viewpoints and stakeholders in order to collaborate for meaningful change. 

Also, I recently really started thinking about the interactions between people at The Feast, and unlike any other conference, that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about the idea that every individual is incredibly powerful and that if we unlock that unique insight, talent, and resources in support of each other, we can really better the world. Our attendees inspire each other to do more, better. 

Has The Feast grown the way you expected it to? Were there any surprises?

Not at all. I had no idea what it would become. When we first started, it was about 100 people in a room where we covered the projector with note-cards while we introduced the next speaker. Over the last few years, we’ve had everyone from the CEO of MTV to Arcade Fire grace our stage and community. Not only that, The Feast Worldwide continues to inspire me. I just got an email from our group in Kuala Lumpur that the Feast in 2012 resulted in the launch of Malaysia's first social incubator in 2013 in partnership with British Council (one of the attendees of the dinner) and the incubation of 6 social innovators. That just inspires me so much. 

The venue: Pioneer Works Center for the Arts in Red Hook, BrooklynThe impact has been organic. The only reason we started the Worldwide program was because when we announced a new format in 2012, people from around the world emailed us, asking how they could get involved. Now we’re in 38 cities. The most important thing we’ve been able to do is act as a catalyst for people and offer them a frame. I would have thought that our impact would have come from the projects that we’ve taken on, but it’s not the top-down stuff that’s driven the most change, it’s the bottom-up.

As far as surprises, I think it’s been interesting to witness our role in starting the “Social Innovation” movement; we can never stop evolving, and we’ve adjusted so many different facets of our conference over the past three years to stay ahead of the curve. In terms of infrastructure, The Feast hasn’t grown as quickly as I would have thought, but I think that’s going to change very soon!  

What is the greatest obstacle you have faced since starting The Feast?

There have been a ton of obstacles -- ranging from the nature of The Feast as well as the business model -- but I think a lot of the obstacles stem from myself, to be honest. I’m a very hard worker, and very strong willed. That can be an immense asset, particularly when you’ve got a big vision, but it can also be a weakness. I’ve had some incredible successes, but I can also be hesitant to accept help and advice. I realize that changing the world isn’t a solo job, and I’m getting better at involving those whose strengths compliment my weaknesses, in order to help drive the kind of change I know The Feast can create.  

What advice can you offer to people trying to make tangible changes in their communities?

Just start. You’ll be really surprised what you’re capable of. I think that people have this fear that they’ll fail, or that it won’t be as great as they expected, or that they’ll lose everything. A good friend of mine once said, “Have you ever failed at something you’ve really put everything you have behind?” The answer is no. If you’re resourceful, open to help, curious, and passionate, chances are that if you start small, you’ll be able to accomplish something. Just start small. Test things out, welcome help and feedback, and build from there. Even if all you do is inspire someone else on your team, a friend, or community member to be a better person, that is a win and something that never would have happened if you hadn’t started.

Attend The Feast.

Watch Jerri Chou's TEDx Talk.




Samantha is an Art History and Visual Arts major at Columbia University. She is currently the Content Intern for and is also interning at Matthew Studios. She has a passion for travel and helping communities.


6 Lessons Travel Teaches You That College Never Will

Travel versus college: the eternal debate rages on with no clear-cut winner. Faced with rising tuition costs and a less than satisfying job market, many would-be college students are ditching their knapsacks and textbooks for rucksacks and guidebooks. But is putting your future on hold for a year of travel the best idea?

Although both sides have their merits, there are simply some things you'll never learn from scribbling notes in a stuffy lecture hall. Struggling to choose between travel and college? Consider these six lessons travel teaches you that college never will:


1. You are capable of more than you've ever imagined.

No one can deny it: Travel is transformative. And I'm not talking about tired clichés like "how backpacking through Europe changed my life", but the ability of travel to affect a tangible and lasting impact on your life.

Travel can turn introverts into extroverts, bring confidence to the meek, and create adrenaline junkies out of thin air; it pushes your physical and mental limits, forcing you to quickly adapt to uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations.

Want to see what you're truly made of? Travel.


2. People are fundamentally good.

Whether you live in New York, Dubai or Karachi, human beings are driven by the same basic desires. We care for our family and friends. We seek to protect our loved ones. We strive to improve our lives day after day. Most importantly, we look out for one another.

Without experiencing the world for ourselves we often lose sight of that, relying instead on cheap stereotypes to guide our thinking. Travel reminds us that we are more bound by similarities than separated through differences.

Good is stronger -- and more prevalent -- than evil. Get out there and see for yourself.


3. You are but a tiny blip on a giant radar.

Our whole lives we're told were special. Starting at home, continuing into our school years, and even into college, parents, teachers, friends, and work colleagues all do their best to remind us just how important we are.

It can be painful at first, but travel will knock that right out of you. Travel humbles you; it makes you truly realize just how small you are in this great big world.

You are a mere speck in an infinite universe. Accept it: You'll see it's not so bad.


4. Stereotypes are ridiculous.

Hollywood can really numb your common sense. If we believed everything we'd ever seen in the movies, we'd think all Russians are villains, all American college kids are alcoholics, and that all Australians do is hunt crocodiles and surf.

Fortunately, travel clears your mind of (most of) that rubbish. Wander around a little and you'll discover that not all Germans are serious, not all Canadians are overly polite, and not all Swedish women are supermodels.

Well, maybe that last one's true.


5. The world is not a dangerous place.

Turn on the news at any given moment: Reports about civil wars, armed struggles or terrorist attacks are never too far away. It's no wonder that announcing travel plans for places like Turkey, Israel or Indonesia can send loved ones into a panic. (I speak from experience.)

Negative news sells, and without venturing beyond your backyard, it's easy to assume that chaos reigns as soon as you step out of your country's borders. Never do we hear those feel-good, heart-warming local news stories from around the world. They're out there. You just need to find them.


6. One person can make a difference.

Grand gestures get all the attention. With philanthropists doling out millions of dollars to charities, it's difficult to see how ordinary people like us can affect positive change.

Travel shows you the other side of the coin: how tiny gestures can add up to something truly meaningful. You'll see that don't need to save a whole village or solve all the world's problems to impact lives. Be the difference for one person at a time. Even the small can become mighty.






Ryan O'Rourke is a travel writer, photographer, and founder of Treksplorer. Connect with Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to join him as he unearths the earth's quirky & sublime two to three weeks at a time.


MEET: Matt Wilson, Adventurer in Residence & Co-Founder of Under30Experiences

Matt WilsonMatt has the ideal job: he spends his days traveling and helps other people do the same with Under30Experiences. He also co-founded Under30CEO, a site dedicated to helping young entrepreneurs live life to the fullest.

Why did you start Under30Experiences? Was there a specific experience that inspired you?

After spending my first several years of my career sitting in front of a computer working on an internet startup, I decided it was time to get out and see the world.  I took a random trip to Iceland and standing on top of a glacier my perspective on life completely changed.  I simply asked myself, "Why were all of my peers stuck at their desks during the prime of their lives?"

Just two months later, we ran our first Under30Experiences trip to Iceland with huge success.  People had the time of their lives seeing such a unique part of the world and connecting with like minded people.  From there I took off and have been traveling around the world for the last 2.5 years.  Bonjour from Paris today!

Can you explain the difference between a travel company and an experience company?

Travel companies usually specialize in tours, bringing you to see the major landmarks, or stay in westernized resorts where you never actually leave the premises to see the country.

We describe U30X as "an experience company" because we curate itineraries that allow for people to share some of the most meaningful experiences of their lives together. It might sound corny, but when you are standing on a retreating glacier, learning about the effects of climate change in one of the most naturally beautiful areas of the world, you'll remember that setting and the new friends you were standing next to for the rest of your life. 

What do you think youth brings to the travel experience? Why is it important?

Travel to the Green Lifestyle in Costa Rica with U30X

One of the most unique parts about Under30Experiences is that our travelers age 21-35 are usually at a very similar point in their lives.  Their youthful exuberance leads to active trips like zip-lining in Costa Rica, skiing in Alaska, or hiking a volcano at 3am in Bali.  It's not that old people aren't capable of these things, it just makes the experience that much better when the people you spend 5-7 days are like-minded and can easily relate to each other.

Simply put, we have a ton of fun. 

What’s special about having 12-20 people in a group? What does a group of that size add to the experience?

Under30Experiences creates boutique experiences in a way that our groups always end up coming together and getting really close knit.  Sure, you'll have free-time to explore by yourself, but when it's dinner time, we all sit at one big table and recap the day.  

A group of that size means there is always someone there that you will be able to connect with, yet it's not so big so the group can stay inclusive of everyone.  If the group is planning on having a bonfire at the beach in Nicaragua nobody will get left behind in their bungalow that night. 

Explore the Land of Fire and Ice with U30XWhat is your single favorite travel destination and why?

Nicaragua is my favorite destination because of our special relationship with the locals.  Cesar Romero our Community Manager grew up in Nicaragua and puts us in touch with the culture first hand.  We work with a local organization called Communidad Connect to meet with local women entrepreneurs and hear how micro-loans and cooperatives have given resources for them to start businesses and support their families in some of the most impoverished regions of the country.

My favorite part of the trip is playing soccer with the local school kids.  It's very important that these children develop a healthy relationship with foreigners and these types of cultural exchanges allow our groups to understand what life is really like in Nicaragua.

How has Under30Experiences changed you personally?

Travel has allowed me to seek new perspectives and understand the bigger picture when it comes to culture, economics, international affairs, inter-personal relationships, and becoming more in touch with myself.

Humans face challenges across the globe and travel has allowed me to gain a healthy, first hand understanding of many of them, which has opened up my awareness to what we face at home...

In other words, yes, sometimes it does take being welcomed with a smile inside a home with dirt floors in Central America, to realize that these global challenges are happening just a few miles from wherever you call home.

What advice would you offer to people starting their own businesses?

If you want to "take over the world" you should first try to understand it.

Obviously I don't mean actually taking over the world, but if you want to be successful, you should first consider what success means to you.  Budding business owners must assume their responsibility as future world leaders and be conscious of the affects that their decisions make on all of our futures. 


Connect with Matt on Twitter at @mattwilsontv or Under30Experiences at @U30Experiences, or check out some of their trips:

Travel to the Green Lifestyle (Costa Rica)

Microfinance Surf Camp (Nicaragua)

Explore an Undiscovered Tropical Paradise (Belize)

A Skiing Adventure in Whistler (Canada)

Explore the Land of Fire and Ice (Iceland)





Samantha is an Art History and Visual Arts major at Columbia University. She is currently the Content Intern for and is also interning at Matthew Studios. She has a passion for travel and helping communities.


CONSCIOUS CAPITALISTS: A Talk with Soraya Darabi, Co-Founder of Zady

Soraya DarabiSoraya, who has about 400,000 followers on Twitter, is a pioneer of social media. She started her career as the Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media for the New York Times, where created a presence on multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, and taught her coworkers how to leverage social media. She is now a speaker for APB Speakers and World Economic Forum. Soraya created Zady, a clothing company with a conscience, in 2012 with childhood friend Maxine Bédat.

Did you travel a lot when you were younger? How do you think you think your travels impacted your perspective?

I come from a global family.  My father lives in the Middle East and my mother and sister both travel(ed) internationally for work.  Even though my parents didn't have gobs of money, growing up travel was prioritized and we found crafty ways to see the world.  I've gone to the Great Wall of China with my mother, on safari with my sister and to Morocco with my father -- and these memories of exploration are the greatest memories in the world.  Maxine, my fellow co-founder, had a very similar upbringing and our shared passion for understanding the world at large, and an inherent fascination with how great craft came to be is why we began Zady.

Zady's Green Palm Art Jacket

How do you define fast-fashion? What do you think is so appealing about it?

Fast-fashion is fad based fashion, products made quickly and cheaply based on popular runway trends.  To me, fast-fashion has another connotation - it represents garment workers treated poorly, paid almost nothing to produce items sold inexpensively at big box retailers.

Why do you think it’s so important to fight fast-fashion?

Beyond protecting the rights of workers around-the globe, to me fast-fashion also represents water waste and water toxicity, as a third of the world's water pollution derives from the apparel and textile business.  Basically, this means the rate at which we are producing products is far too rushed, and not at all good for the only planet we've got.  The time is now to return to the ways of slow fashion, to focus on process and craftsmanship. To own stylish, timeless pieces made to last -- and to buy fewer but better made items.   This is how we will fight back.

Can you talk about how social media can be leveraged to help causes like Zady’s?

Zady's Josephina WeekenderThe era of brands telling consumers what they should like because a sexy model is wearing or holding up said item is over.  Plain and simple.  Social media has radicalized the world and the brands that will succeed will leverage it to build community and most importantly, to truly listen to their community.  When our community speaks to us and asks us to carry, for instance, dog products made in the USA because they'd like their pets to live the Zady lifestyle, we listen. To some that could seem like a silly request.  At Zady it kicked off a conversation with our buying team about how to pay close attention to instagram for cues as to what we should look at for seasons to come.

How do you think the fast-paced, like social media, and the slow-paced, like slow-fashion, come together to find harmony?

The world is actually slowing down.  Attention is shifting, I think, from the fastest social networks (twitter) to creative networks (like instagram).  Fast-fashion is an addiction like any other. I came off of it.  Today I have a closet full of only the essentials items I need to live and work, a small loft apartment with few products but a fridge full of photograph of truly enjoyed experiences.  My friends have the same. It feels like the beginning of an exciting movement - a bold new era of consciousness.

Follow Soraya on Twitter at @sorayadarabi or reach out to Zady at @Zady.

Join Zady's movement and take a stand here.





Samantha is an Art History and Visual Arts major at Columbia University. She is currently the Content Intern for and is also interning at Matthew Studios. She has a passion for travel and helping communities.


MALAYSIA: Destruction of Paradise

No two seconds hold the same scene. I stand high above the virgin rainforests of Borneo and watch it slowly emerge from under a shifting blanket of mist. The whooping laughter of gibbons drifts up as sunbeams pick out tree after chosen tree. Cicadas start up a chorus. The boom of an argus—the world’s largest pheasant—is faint, but unmistakable. The forest is waking.

It was not difficult waking at 4:15 this morning and getting dressed in darkness blacker than a hood. I am in Danum valley which is one of the last remaining truly virgin stands of gorgeous tropical rainforests. And the promise of a “watchtower” overlooking this paradise evaporated any vestiges of sleep.

I leave this valley later today and head to the riparian zones around Kinabatangan river.

As it turned out, nothing could have prepared me for the dichotomous day that was to follow.

Walking deep in the rainforests is nothing if not highly interesting. Leeches collect me everyday and I find myself donating blood to them and sweat to the ultra-humid morass called equatorial air in equal measure. Furrowed and fluted buttresses of massive strangler figs slither into snaking roots that lie thick in my path, waiting to trip me up, should I dare look up.

But look up I did, for there were primates there. Red leaf monkeys of all sizes swung and leap among the canopies by the dozens; old orangutans laze on thick boughs, chewing on canary-yellow dillenia flowers. And there are gibbons: masters of throwing whoops. I can not spot them, no matter how fast I whirl around trying to trace the origin of each deceptive whoop.

Yes, I look up, but I look down too. I kneel among the leaf litter and peer. The forest lives at various levels, you see. There, among the humus, I find hints of fairies. I see their pink tutus balanced on tiny toadstool stalks.

It drips here all day. It rains. And rains. It comes down in impermeable grey sheets from low, bulbous clouds. It comes down in pitter-patter remainders from several layers of canopy. It drips all day. This thick dense green rainforest is a rainmaker. A lung. An unimaginably diverse ecosystem that breathes moisture, exhales oxygen, sucks away carbon dioxide. It is, I realize with each buttress I see, an invaluable carbon sink. A paradise that works bloody hard so we may live.

But as these things go, there is trouble bubbling thickly in paradise.

A week prior, from high above, I’d seen neat forkscrapes separating thick clusters of trees. Dark dense green bartered for neat rows of money-plantations. Orangutan and gibbon, argus and trogon all traded to sate the world’s hunger for snack foods and cosmetics.

Borneo was the world’s department store for the cheapest edible oil—palm oil.

Then I see the destruction closer at hand. As I drive out of Danum that morning, reality whacks me in the face. Bright red JCBs roll on clear-felled rainforest land. Fires burn away any remnants of a rich biodiverse ecosystem. Orangutans, rendered homeless, are likely dead.

Dark green forests hundreds of years old have been incinerated for a different shade of green.

Conflict Palm Oil* is everywhere. It’s in my shampoo. In my cookie. In our lip-sticks. In sweet-smelling soaps, face creams, biscuits, snack foods, chocolates, it lives large in our shopping carts. As the cheapest edible oil, it’s what is bubbling in woks all over the world. It’s what’s funneled out to ration-shops and grocers in rich and poor countries.

And where it comes from, chiefly, is here. Borneo. Over the cremated remains of old, last rainforests. A cremation, a destruction, that releases copious amounts of CO2 into the air.

Something reaches down my throat and grabs my stomach: the realization that, as a consumer, I am party to this waste.

For more information on Conflict Palm Oil, see the Rainforest Action Network's site.





Arati is a freelance photographer and journalist working in and around India. Her work focuses on the environment and people, interconnected as they are. She is currently working on a commissioned project to document the changes in the lives of communities and the ecology around our Rivers, the River Diaries.


10 Delicious Drinks You’ll Find Overseas

Some drinks--think bubble tea, Guinness, acai--have made their way around the world, but there’s still a vast assortment of beverages that you probably can’t find at home.  Here are 10 great excuses to plan your next trip abroad:


1. Pisco Sour (Peru, Chile)

The liquor pisco is the base for this refreshing cocktail.  Though Peru and Chile both claim the pisco sour as their national beverage, both country’s versions are equally tasty.  The Peruvian pisco sour includes pisco, lime juice, syrup, egg white and bitters, while the Chilean version excludes the last two ingredients.  Either option is a great choice!


2. Masala Chai (India)

While you may find Chai tea in your home country, it likely differs from the ubiquitous drink sold by chai-wallahs at Indian roadside stands and hole-in-the-wall delis.  Authentic masala chai is made from whole-leaf tea and spices, which are added to a boiling mixture of water and milk.  It’s frothy, rich, flavorful, and utterly delicious.


3. Einspänner (Austria)

Austria is known for its historic coffee houses or cafes, which serve decadent variations of traditional coffee beverages.  The Einspänner consists of strong black coffee or a shot of espresso, which is served in a tall glass cup piled high with whipped cream.  Not only is the whipped cream a tasty addition, but it also adds insulation, keeping the coffee warm for longer.


4. Springbokkie (South Africa)

This cocktail gets its name from the South African national rugby union team, the Springboks.  Their jersey is green and gold, just like this drink which consists of creme de menthe and the cream liqueur Amarula.  Just a shot of this combo and you’ll feel patriotic too!


5. Apfelschorle (Germany)

The Germans, who dislike the artificial sweetness of most store-bought juices, commonly mix them with mineral water for a refreshing dose of fizz. Apfelschorle (apple juice and mineral water) is by far the most common type, and it may be purchased like any other soft drink or prepared at home.  


6. Raki (Turkey, Greece)

If you like licorice, you’ll love this unsweetened anise-flavored apéritif.  But watch out, it’s strong!  That’s why it’s often diluted with water, giving it a milky white appearance and the appropriate title “Lion’s Milk.”  The most common accompaniment to Raki is another Turkish classic, melon and feta cheese!


7. Sujeonggwa (Korea)

This robustly flavored fruit punch is a popular dessert beverage, particularly during the holidays.  The dried persimmons, cinnamon, and ginger that go into this drink give it a beautiful reddish brown color.  Though it is boiled during preparation, Koreans prefer Sujeonggwa served chilled--but it’s great either way.


8. Air Mata Kucing (Malaysia)

This unique drink is composed of some unique ingredients including the fruits luohanguo (aka Monk Fruit) and longan.  These are boiled with winter melon and sugar to make a naturally sweet fruity beverage that may be served hot or cold.  The most famous place to get Air Mata Kucing is Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur, where it is sold by numerous street-side vendors.


9. Atol de Elote (El Salvador)

This thick, creamy beverage is derived from the Maya culture, and perhaps as a result there are lot of superstitious traditions surrounding it.  For example, only a single person is allowed to stir the brew or else it will taste bad.  But fear not, this combo of milk, sweet corn and cinnamon won’t disappoint, and it makes a sweet ending to any meal!   

10. Palm Wine (Central and West Africa, Southeast Asia)

This beverage is just what sounds like--wine made from the sap of palm trees (of which there are numerous varieties).  While it seems ubiquitous around most of the globe, it hasn’t come to prominence in the Western world.  Depending on the type of palm tree and the time of fermentation, the alcohol content and sweetness may vary.  Taste around and you’re sure to find your fave!





Clara is a Politics major at Princeton University focusing on international relations and global health.  She is originally from Ashland, Oregon but loves traveling whenever she can.  Clara is currently the FIND YOUR MISSION intern for