Caffe Praego Coffee Company Ltd
We first travelled to Rwanda in 2007 to visit Pfunda Tea Company, then owned by the Birchalls Tea family and was shown the absolutely devasting effect the 1994 genocide had on the country and the population, particularly in the rural communities. Having seen first-hand the many thousands of orphaned children living in institutions that were the direct result of the genocide, we took the decision to help and with the aid of our then business Coffee Point pledged financial and management support to two of the largest orphanages in the Country:- The Noel Orphanage Nyundo, home to 750 children and Kimisagra Orphanage Kigali, home to over 110 children.
I founded the Point Foundation in 2006, while working with Coffee Point (then the largest privately owned vending operator in the UK) with projects in South Africa, but after my visit to Rwanda decided to divert attention to help. Over the next 5 years the funding we raised from our vending business completely rebuilt the crumbling infrastructure for both orphanages and saved many children’s lives with monthly food and medical supplies, nursing, paying for primary and secondary education, as well as building toilets, a farm, a medical centre and giving each child their own bed to sleep on.
Fundraising of the magnitude needed, was difficult and time consuming, so Caffe Praego Coffee Company was founded in 2014, with the express desire to use the sale of coffee beans to support funding for the Point Foundation.
Stage one was to personally source fully washed green bean direct from the growers in Rwanda, as they produce superb Arabica cherries, with the majority of coffee trees grown at high altitude & on rich, fertile, volcanic soil. We decided to source from washing stations in the north next to Lake Kivu, building close relationships initially with Ingoboka Co-operative and now with a further five co-operatives.
Aside from High Quality, Ethical Sourcing & “Fair Pricing” giving the farmers long term supply agreements, our Vision was to “Give Back” to these communities with financial support for education, vocational training and supporting special needs & disabled children who receive no support from the Rwandan Government.
Our direct input and support has significantly improved the lives of the farmers families and their communities. We agreed to pay the Point Foundation £3 for every case of coffee sold, which allowed us to allocate the funds to specific projects that we and our customers could choose and have control over.
From Jan 2015 to Dec 2019, as sales have grown, we have returned @ £150,000 to the community projects.
Today the Point Foundation in Rwanda manages all Caffe Praego projects. Together with our teams we visit at least once or twice a year to see for ourselves the progress for each programme and the difference being made.
Although our funding and project management to help those in need was of the greatest importance, Caffe Praego also ensures that we focus our efforts on best practice, best sourcing, higher buying prices and using sustainable & reusable packaging
Packaging – Our Coffee Bags & Packing Cases
We do not use aluminium packaging, meaning our bags are more environmentally friendly and easy to recycle. Bags are designed to maximise the freshness of the roasted beans with a special patented seal. Caffe Praego cardboard boxes are made from recycled cardboard materials and can be used again and again. The writing on our boxes contain no bleaches or harmful dyes and the vegetable inks are from a sustainable source.
Coffee & Art – a great combination
Historically, coffee and art have always been linked and we see this being an important part of our branding showing customers the provenance of the coffee .
I first met Frank Setto at the Noel Orphanage in 2007. Having lost all adult family members during the 1994 genocide he and his siblings were living in absolute poverty. Frank is an exceptional artist despite traumatic memories and institutional childhood, so after paying for his secondary school education we then paid for his university course. Today we commission Frank to design and paint all the designs on our coffee bags and we proudly hang his original artwork in our coffee academy..
Our Projects in Rwanda & South Africa
Today we support some 4,500 vulnerable & special needs children living in communities close to the washing stations, where the coffee farmers take their green bean. We focus primarily on education & disability support to the following:
- Ubumwe Community Centre
- Jessies Place Caring for Disabled Children
- Kigeyo nursery, primary & secondary School where Ingoboka children attend
- La Germe School
- House of Children School
- Izere Centre for disabled & special needs children
- Mwogo Vocational Training Centre – where we fund @50 young people gain a trade in carpentry, tailoring, beauty and farming
Some facts on our work through to 2019
124 x orphans fully funded through university to graduation
84 x disabled children collected daily from outlining villages and take to House of Children School. We pay transport, school fees, uniform & shoes, morning milk & lunch, school books & special needs
5 x special needs teacher’s salaries annually
4 x specialist teacher / physiotherapists to support cerebral palsy children at Izere
10,000 x school books supplied with 2,500 on order
20 x sewing machines, 12 x knitting machines for disabled co-operatives at Ubumwe Centre
6 x braille machines for blind students at House of Children
Supply of 200 x school chairs / benches and 100 x desks & tables
Microphone systems, projectors, school equipment for Kigeyo School
Books & writing materials for Kigeyo Nursery School
New toilet block, playground equipment, desks & chairs, teacher salaries for La Germe School
Refurbished school rooms & new library at Kigeyo school
Please see: www.pointfoundation.co.uk and www.caffe-praego.com
In 2017 and 2019 together with the Point Foundation we received two awards for “Outstanding and Significant Contribution to Rwandan Education” including our disability programmes from the Minister of Education.