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Coffee company funding girls’ education in Mozambique one bag at a time
Brett Kuxhausen
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Gorongosa Coffee

When it comes to education, females are still at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts. Sixteen million girls around the world will never set foot in a classroom, and women account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills, according to UNESCO.

This gender inequality is also a major cause and effect of poverty and hunger, with women and girls making up an estimated 60% of chronically hungry people, statistics from U.N. Women reveal.

Girls' education is a crucial component of decreasing the gender gap; every additional year of primary school a girl attends will increase her eventual wages by 10 to 20% and encourage her to marry later and have fewer children, leaving her less vulnerable to violence and poverty.

While there are many ways in which we can contribute to the efforts of those working to ensure girls get the education they deserve, one company has made it as simple as buying a bag of coffee.

In 2015, the Gorongosa Project partnered with green bean coffee experts and local farmers to plant coffee on Mount Gorongosa in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. The shade-grown coffee is planted alongside native tree saplings to restore the depleted rainforest and provide farmers with a sustainable source of income.

Brett Kuxhausen

From this, Gorongosa Coffee was born. The company, founded by Gorongosa National Park, directly supports the activities of the Gorongosa Project, with every purchase of its products aiding human development and conservation activities in the area.

The beans are harvested by small-scale producers in Mozambique and then roasted into three different blends by partners around the world. Each blend serves a specific impact area, including wildlife conservation, rainforest reforestation, and girls' education.

One hundred percent of the profits from the Girls Run the World blend help to build 100 schools, give 20,000 girls access to after-school programs, and provide 500 high school scholarships. Even the purchase of just one bag equals one day in school for a girl.

"Our main aim is to keep girls in school, because for many reasons, as soon as girls are old enough…12 or 13, they normally are sent to get married," Larissa Sousa, the girls education program manager at Gorongosa National Park, said.

One way the park does this is through its Girls' Club, a program that works to prevent premature marriages and keep girls in school so they have access to more resources and can become self-reliant.

"We want to work with the most vulnerable…in the community to give opportunity to these children. So what we want is to try to have this generation of women who have the opportunity to continue education, who can grow and be what they want to be, who have better opportunities than the previous generation had," Sousa said.

Brett Kuxhausen

Sousa explains the program works to inform both the girls and their parents of the importance of getting an education and how that will have a big impact on their future.

"What we are doing is for these girls to try to create safe spaces, open doors to the opportunities that they can have, and also create that sense of thinking about the future that what you do today will have an action, a reaction in the future, that everything we do has a consequence," she said.

The results of the work Sousa and Girls' Club are doing is already evident.

"We've known the girls for some time now, so now we can see that they are already more confident. They want to know more about the world," Sousa said.

"In the beginning, you would greet the girls and they would run away. They're open now to opportunities. They want to know more of life…they're curious. It's very interesting how some of the girls already come and say, oh I want to be a doctor, I want to be this, because now they see this is possible so that's what makes us work harder every day," she said.

Anora Manuel, 13, is one such example. Manuel participates in Girls' Club after school and says she wants to be a ranger when she grows up.

"I live with my father and grandfather. I don't have a mother. I'm a child and I want to study. I don't want to get married," Manuel said.

To help Girls' Club continue this important work, all you have to do is swap your current coffee for Gorongosa Coffee's Girls Run the World blend and know that with every sip, you're helping close the gender gap and giving a girl the opportunity to dream bigger for her life.

Put simply, "educating a woman is educating a society," according to Sousa.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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