Why do you support the Congo Coffee Project?

Beth Ann Caspersen
October 14, 2014

Share your story.

In November, I’m heading to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to visit our farmer partners at SOPACDI in North Kivu, and then I’ll be travelling to the Panzi Hospital in South Kivu. It is a long and emotional journey. During my last trip in October 2012, I was able to visit the Panzi Hospital and learn about the services they provide to survivors of sexual violence. It was an amazing experience that evoked deep emotion; I saw firsthand the important role that the hospital plays in the region for survivors of sexual violence, and it confirmed the importance of our efforts to support the region’s coffee farmers and the hospital through the Congo Coffee Project

We have been buying coffee from SOPACDI since 2011. Together, we partnered with the Panzi Foundation and created the Congo Coffee Project to raise money for the Panzi Hospital. Over the last three years, thanks to you, we have raised more than $40,000! These funds have been used for a variety of projects at the Panzi Hospital, enriching the lives of the women and children there. 

In 2013, we raised $15,000 and developed the Panzi Bag Project, an initiative to give women the skills to make woven plastic bags while fostering confidence along with craftsmanship. Equal Exchange started selling these bags last fall. One of the reasons I’m going to the hospital is to see how the Panzi Bag Project is going. I also want to talk about our work with the Congo Coffee Project in the U.S. market, but I need your help! 

So many of you, our amazing customers, have supported this project for the last three years and now we want to hear from you! Our incredible progress would not be possible without your dedication and passion for building a better world. Now, I want to share your stories. Why do you support the Congo Coffee Project and why does it matter to you?

I plan to share your pictures, stories and thoughts with the people who are affected by all your hard work: the Panzi Hospital staff, the women in the bag making program, and the founder of the Panzi Hospital himself, Dr. Denis Mukwege. This is an amazing opportunity to connect communities in the U.S. with this important community in the DRC, and I hope you’ll be a part of it.

Send your stories to me at bacaspersen@equalexchange.coop by Oct. 31. Thank you!