One of the most influential moments while we were in Sumatra was our visit to Lake Toba, specifically, Kokowagayo. We arrived at the mill where the women greeted us with large smiles. Soon after being introduced to some of the women of the mill we were taken over to sit down in front of a rather large stage. Along the stage were eight young men dressed in what appeared to be a traditional ceremonial outfit. They began singing and dancing, which was translated in English to a “thank you” for coming to see them and try their coffee.
I was stunned. In that moment, I realized how important it is to these farmers that individuals like us come and see them. They rely on roasters to buy their coffee and, in turn, like a section of their song for us stated, “allows us to send their children to universities.” These farmers put so much effort into what they do, day in and day out; yet, are so humble and appreciative for the roasters that come and buy their coffee.
The number of women working at the mill was incredible as well. Many were hand-sorting beans, moving the heavy burlap bags, and also taking care of the mill itself. I was able to sit down with three women from the mill and ask them questions about their work and lifestyle in the community. One of the most notable moments in our conversation was when Indah (one of the workers at the mill) mentioned to me how they have taken initiative as an organization to hire as many women as they can. She stated “women are typically stuck to a household role here in our community, but now with our help, are allowed to work outside of that role at the mill and earn wages.” She explained how their new role at the mill has empowered them in the community and allowed them to take on new responsibility within the community, all while earning wages.
This, precisely, is why Joffrey’s is a proud supporter of Café Feminino®- a gender-focused program to support social justice and empowerment for women coffee producers worldwide.1 Joffrey’s line of Café Femenino includes coffee from all around that supports women all around the globe: Mexico, Sumatra, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru.
Remote areas and communities such as some of those in Sumatra, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru pose many challenges to women. The women of these areas are isolated, sometimes living in a male-dominated society where they are not allowed to make many decisions or have any financial control. Café Femenino sets out to change these circumstances for the better.
The women in Café Femenino communities have noted many changes such as, recognition for the work they do in the home and on the farm, reduction in physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, increase in family incomes, increase in men participating in childcare and domestic responsibilities, and increase in school attendance among girls. Café Feminino makes sure that the women on the farms obtain legal rights to the land on which they farm, leadership positions within the cooperatives, and financial and business decision-making power. The amount of positive impact that Café Feminino has on women in supported communities is outstanding, and it is why Joffrey’s is a proud partner supporter. We hope that you will join us in supporting these amazing women.