Who Are We?
We are Eline, Sanam, Florence, Nneamakar, Ana, Luca and Florent. We are seven students from Tilburg University’s Outreaching Honors Program. It consists of, amongst others, a project in collaboration with a company or foundation. This year, our team has combined its strengths and knowledge with Bèkske: Rwandan Empowerment Coffee. Together, we are working on Bèkske Coffee in close cooperation with the founders of this coffee enterprise, Anne-Marie de Brouwer, Eefje de Volder and Luan Vercruysse. More information about the enterprise can be found in this link.
Bèkske Coffee Mission
Bèkse Coffee has one simple but clear mission: to empower women in Rwanda. Bèkse Coffee does so by producing high-quality coffee in a sustainable and transparent way. The coffee is able to achieve a big local impact since 52% of the coffee sales directly flow back to the local communities in Rwanda. This empowerment occurs as the coffee is farmed by these women and proceeds from the sold coffee are returned to the women through Solace Ministries which helps in empowering these women, spiritually, financially and mentally. The coffee is entirely produced by Rwandan women who suffered sexual violence during the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Genocide against the Tutsi & Initiatives
The Genocide against the Tutsi was a mass slaughter of the Tutsi in Rwanda during a 100-day period between April 7 to mid-July 1994. Despite the fact that the women in the program of Bèkske Coffee have experienced miserable situations, great losses, traumas and poverty, coffee entrepreneurship provides them with a hopeful future. The project of Bèkske Coffee contributes to their social and economic independence. By means of the project, the women can restore their self-esteem and retake their place in society. Sequentially, this increases the human capital and chances of the society in which the women live.
There’s a common thread that runs through all seven of us. This is the strong belief that everyone has the right to their own body, and the opportunity to live a fulfilling life. The Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi brought about violence and death. The women are survivors of genocidal sexual violence and were left with nothing. The conflict has left scars but through the struggles, they have a strong sense of hope. These women deserve the chance to be able to provide for themselves and their family. Working with Bèkske Rwandan Empowerment Coffee has enabled us to empower these women into living fulfilling lives. We can taste the hard work and love that they have invested in the growing and harvesting of the coffee beans. We think that by sharing these flavours with our community, we are enabling these women to be fairly rewarded. Their stories of determination serve as reminders of the importance of peace and perseverance.
25th Commemoration Genocide against the Tutsi
2019 is a special year since it marks the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. We are collaborating with Bèkse Rwandan Empowerment Coffee by setting up events during the hundred-day commemoration in Tilburg. There is the Opening Event kickstarting the commemoration in Tilburg on April 10 at Tilburg University, in which there will be inspiring speeches from influential people, amongst which is the Rwandan Ambassador to the Netherlands! Moreover, there will be a coffee tasting at Locals and a Movie matinee at Cinecitta in May, and both events are aimed at raising awareness among Tilburg residents about the Rwandan genocide, the resilience of its survivors as well as showing the initiatives that have been set up to empower the Rwandan communities.
Moreover, Bèkske coffee will be sold at several locations belonging to our partners during the 100-days; Jumbo Food Market at Stappegoorweg, Bonheur Esplanade at Tilburg University, Business Hub Besterd at Besterdplein, Sterk Huis in Gorile, and Locals at Heuvelstraat. So feel free to enjoy our Empowerment Coffee at one of these locations and we hope to see you at our events!