MAF’s regular partner, Jenga is finding ways to impact the poor community in Mount Elgon via supporting an ethical coffee company
I was privileged to accompany two game changers we flew into Soroti in September who are partnering with a fantastic coffee project in the Jurassic-looking region of Mt Elgon. Nick and Ruth are formidable medical and business consultants who in their so-called ‘retirement’ are building bridges between Wales and Uganda. The elaborate web of partnerships that collectively end up helping both broken trafficked women back in Wales and disenfranchised farmers in Uganda is slightly complicated but fascinating to learn about.
Ruth explained to me how this story began in the UK back in 2012. A pastor friend of theirs named Dai, had a vision of a prostitute in Cardiff’s red-light district. The vision wouldn’t go away and their friend felt strongly that God was calling him to reach out to sex workers / trafficking victims. He set up an NGO called ‘Red Community’ of which Nick is a trustee. The purpose of Red is to raise awareness and help victims of the trade by giving them skills which would establish them into mainstream employment, breaking the abusive cycle they found themselves in. Someone came up with the idea of coffee roasting. Dai and Nick set up a company called ‘Manumit’, an old English word meaning, ‘to release from slavery’. Other agencies helping human trafficked survivors, refer them to Manumit so they can have transferrable skills in the work place. This is where the Uganda connection comes in. Nick and Dai knew they couldn’t have a Coffee Roasters company standing against trafficking if the beans themselves were unethically produced. Ruth pointed out, ‘The next step was to ensure a slavery free supply chain from the bean to the cup.’
Nick shared a story about one of the girls who is known as ‘Eva’. Each bag mentions a pseudo name of who the beans have been roasted by. She was a working girl trafficked from Eastern Europe with the promise of work, but after her passport was taken she was forced to work in a ‘massage parlour’. This was raided by police and Eva was connected to the Red Community who then referred her to Manumit who then gave her a skill and a purpose. Eva also learnt barista training, how to write a CV and was recently baptised after linking with Dai’s church.
Story: Jill Vine, MAF Communications