GROWING AN INDUSTRY
Today, most Rwandans rely on subsistence agriculture as their primary source of income and their primary crops are tea and coffee, making up nearly 80% of their agricultural exports, estimated at about $180 million dollars a year. By comparison, Brazil exported an average value of $3.1 billion a year from 1990-2011. A stark contrast and with such a small, yet growing, economy the Rwandans must find many ways to generate income. For instance, producing goods only to be sold to other local people, such as farming tools and household items.
Even with a growing economy, life is still very hard for most of the Rwandan people, and women often are responsible for generating the majority of a household’s income.
Currently, there are about 5,000 women hand-sorting coffee countrywide.
According to Mario S., our Agronomist in Rwanda;
We are now dry milling tons of coffee, tasting and shipping for the next 100 days. It is amazing to see how much benefit coffee activities can bring to the community.
CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION
San Francisco Bay Coffee has been working with Rwandan farmers in an effort to reestablish the once robust Rwandan coffee farms with the intent of increasing the living standards for these farmers. We have also put a strong focus on providing facilities to improve education. Through these social programs and job training, we are helping to provide livable wages and opportunities to the people of Rwanda, and we will continue to do so.
Starting in 2006, San Francisco Bay Coffee has invested time and money to help young Rwandan girls achieve their personal aspirations through education and their dreams are not small. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, professions that no matter what country you live in are difficult, but through hard work the girls of the Gashora Academy are creating a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.
According to the principal of the Gashora Girls Academy:
Some of the girls come from the poorest communities and their foundation is shaky, but ever since they came here they have kept improving, improving and improving.
In October of 2013, we wrote a feature on one student from the Academy, “From Darkness To Light — The Story Of AnnMarie”, who was the first of 6 students involved with the Rogers scholarship program to graduate from the Gashora Girls Academy.
We checked in on AnnMarie and this is how her live as progressed in the last 10 months;
Anne Marie is back in Gashora Girls Academy for a month, as a tutor of our 5 SFB Coffee scholars, currently enrolled.
She has been accepted into 2 university programs, in the college of business at the University of Rwanda and nursing at Mount Kenya University. In the mean time, I proposed to her to assist in the tutoring of our girls, to earn experience and a bit if money, and give extra help to our sponsored students.
She kindly accepted.
—Mario Serracin - Agronomist, San Francisco Bay Coffee
IMPROVING THE HEALTH OF A COMMUNITY
Since 2010, Mario has guided 47 students through an internship program with the University of Rwanda. So far, 2 interns are SF Bay Coffee employees. Their main job is to help our farmers in all aspects of sustainable coffee production and export.
The former interns now assist with:
- Monitoring cherry prices
- Integrated Pest Control
- Natural Fertilizer practices with earthworms
- Tasting and
- Social programs
We are dedicated to empowering these young people with a solid know-how of modern coffee farming so they can return to their communities with tangible skills that will elevate all involved.
If you would like to sample the Rwanda coffee, please visit our store.