Monday, October 17, 2011

Drink Coffee, Save Lives

Back to my regularly scheduled blog posts, with thanks to everyone who came to check out yesterday's Blog Action Day post.

Last night we had a staff meeting at the store, and one of the things that was revealed to us was the fact that we're getting a new flavor of coffee.  We sell coffees manufactured by Equal Exchange, which guarantees that the beans used to make the coffee are fair trade.  The coffee sells pretty well, and I'm told it's really delicious; I can't speak to that personally because I don't like coffee, so I've never had any, but I'm inclined to believe it.

Anyway, we're getting a new coffee, but that in and of itself isn't quite a huge deal.  However, the kind of coffee we're getting is another matter entirely.  The new coffee is Congo Coffee, and the sales of this coffee will all be part of Equal Exchange's new initiative, the Congo Coffee Project.

In the Congo, which is in central Africa, sexual violence toward women has blossomed into an epidemic.  According to the Panzi Foundation, rape of women by soldiers has been a problem for a while, but now civilian rapes are on the rise as well.  The Panzi Hospital, which is run by the Panzi Foundation, treats many of these women and reported a 3% increase in the number of civilian rapes between 2009 and 2010.

The proceeds from sales of Congo Coffee will directly benefit the Panzi Hospital, and in turn, aid the women who are suffering from this cycle of violence and humiliation.  In the last twelve years, they have treated more than 25,000 women who were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted.  Try to imagine that, if you can.

So if you drink coffee, consider buying some Congo Coffee to help these women.  If you're like me and you don't drink coffee, Equal Exchange has some other ideas for how you can be a part of their efforts to end sexual violence in the Congo. 

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