I wanted to bring to you all two things–a life update and a story I recently read about the Kopakama Cooperative. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you already know that I’m a barista at Stellar Beans in Lake Charles, LA. I know, first I drink the coffee then I write about the coffee then I became a barista (Gilmore Girls reference anyone?). Anyway, I’m currently living at my parent’s house in Lake Charles, LA while I try and save money to move to Austin, TX where in two or three years time I hope to one day open a coffee shop!
Anyway, I’m currently living at my parent’s house in Lake Charles, LA while I try and save money to move to Austin, TX where in two or three years time I hope to one day open a coffee shop! Well, that’s my little blurb about me, let’s move on to the real story–The Kopakama Cooperative.
The Kopakama Cooperative’s meaning is the Agricultural Coffee Cooperative of Manbanza–a former county of western Rwanda, according to JMIcoffee.org.
At Kopakama, which began with 48 members in 1998, farmers produce fully washed Arabica which the farmers then use the profits from to perfect their micro-washing station.
The Kopakama Cooperative has grown to 600 members since 1998 and they are all committed to improving their local communities such as using Fairtrade premium to access electricity.
The 1994 Rwandan genocide left thousands of widows and orphans to provide for their families, states Orleanscoffee.com. Fourteen years later, 180 women from the Kopakama Cooperative ended up forming a women’s group whose main focus was to revitalize the coffee fields to make and earn a better living while their husbands were away.
Since 2008, the Co-Op has grown to 247 women who contribute through their individual and collective farms by raising money for water access to the community and help poor members of the community to buy cows. Their collective coffee field is called Ejo Heza which means, “A Beautiful Tomorrow.”