Stories of Change

These are stories of change from our projects around the world. These personal stories tell one story that is part of the larger change that PfC works to create in the world with our partners.

Sumeya Yasin, Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c

Participant in the Ethiopian Women’s Entrepreneurs Trade Mission to Norway, Oct. 4-8th, 2015

sumeya

(Photo: Kristine Flyvholm)

Sumeya is an 18-year-old young woman who works with Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c as Sales Manager. She has been working with her father, the owner of Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c for the past five years. She is also a student in high school in the 12th grade and would love to go abroad for university, but for now she is pleased to be working with Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c and expanding its programs for women.

Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c is a third-generation family business selling green forest coffee, Grade 2 and 3. Sumeya’s great-grandfather owned the land – 55.4 hectares – where he began to cultivate coffee. Her grandfather inherited the land and the business supported is 10 children from 2 wives. When her father inherited the land, he decided to finally give a name to the plantation and called it Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c, named after his daughter (Sumeya’s younger sister) and the flower, Yasmin, loved for its texture and smell, just like Yasmin Coffee. He also increased the plantation size with 100 hectares given by the government on a lease.

In 2012, Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c began exporting to international markets, including to the US, Germany, Switzerland and France. The business not only produces coffee, but also engages in reforestation to increase the land’s fertility. Currently, 105 hectares of the land is cultivated out of the 155.4 hectares.

Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c also serves as an umbrella group for coffee out growers so that they can become self-sufficient and independent. This includes 50 women out growers whom Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c provides training and guidance as well as the means and tools to produce high quality coffee. Sumeya explains that:

“All the burdens of coffee production from picking to drying the seeds falls on women. We believe in the power of women, since women are the base and backbone for every success. So we give women a special place in our company and in the farming area. Since supporting, guiding and giving awareness to women means changes the entire family and community.”

One of the companies taglines is: “Backbone of society + Base of success + Solution of Problem = Women”.

Going to Norway for the Ethiopian Women Entrepreneurs Delegation was the first time Sumeya had ever been to Europe. She participated in the special program for coffee exporters at the Norwegian Coffee Association where she learned more about the value of her coffee and how to package and sell her product. Sumeya is greatly appreciative to PfC and CAWEE for giving her the chance to come to Norway to learn and explore new markets for Yasmin Coffee Plantation p.l.c.

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Meaza Tsegaye, Weyra Crafts

Participant in the Ethiopian Women’s Entrepreneurs Trade Mission to Norway, Oct. 4-8th, 2015

meaza

(Photo: Kristine Flyvholm)

Meaza is a 49-year-old businesswoman with two sons (17 and 15 years old). By profession, Meaza is an accountant with a BSc in IT. When she started her business, Weyra Crafts, she says: “It was just a hope.” She had the art and creativity inside her and after working some years in accounting she followed her passion and started her business on a small scale. In 2008, Meaza began selling her products in the lobby of a mall with only one employee: herself. It was very easy to open up her business in Ethiopia; it took her only one day! She hired her first employee in 2009 and since then her business has been growing every day.

At the beginning, Meaza was not designing all the products; instead she sold other designers’ products. But, when her customers began complaining about the quality, she recalls, “It clicked! Why don’t I start designing?” Even though she is not a designer by profession, she taught herself to design textiles, leather, jewellery, wooden carvings, and home accessories.

Today, Weyra Crafts has one shop in a prime location in Addis Ababa complete with a gallery, craft centre and workshop. She has 10 permanent employees, including 8 women and 6 who have recently returned from Arab countries after working as housecleaners. One of her employees is an 18 year-old young single mother who was recently abandoned by her boyfriend. She works in the craft shop and Meaza has ensured that she can bring her child to work and leave him in a safe playroom. Meaza also works with subcontractors who hire disabled and disadvantaged people who previously lived on the streets.

In 2015, Weyra Crafts started exporting its products to Belgium after meeting a buyer at an exhibition in Ethiopia. She has also completed the interior decoration of a lodge in Rwanda. Meaza is hopeful about the potential for selling her products in Norway. She said:

“There are lots of things we can do with the Norwegian market. I am looking forward to it.”

Check out Weyra Crafts website to view its wide-range of products.

 

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Dehab Bitewlign, Diamond Enterprise

Participant in the Ethiopian Women’s Entrepreneurs Trade Mission to Norway, Oct. 4-8th, 2015

Dehab_Diamond_Enterprise

(Photo: Kristine Flyvholm)

Dehab is a 50 year-old businesswoman with three children, all boys (18, 16, and 9 years old). She is the General Manager and Owner of Diamond Enterprise, producer of high quality Arabica beans and raw honey. Her husband and his friend established the coffee company in 1997 and her husband’s friend operated it until his death in 2010. At the time, Dehab was working as a Finance & Administration Manager in a pharmaceutical company and her husband was working as a civil engineer. Following the death of her husband’s friend, Dehab and her husband visited the 200-hectare coffee farm, in the southwestern part of Ethiopia, Kaffa, a 450-kilometre drive from Addis Ababa. When she went to the farm, she fell in love with it and realized that she wanted to take over the operations with her husband rather than sell their portion.

“When we saw the forest nature of the farm, we decided not to sell our portion. But we knew almost nothing about coffee farming. I had never thought of becoming a coffee farmer, but here it fell into my hands. I started visiting the farm regularly, prepared daily reports to catch up with every activity in the farm, started reading any document I got about coffee, had thorough discussions with my employees, agronomist and business advisors, and started to participate in workshops and trainings about coffee. The more I became involved, the more I fell in love with coffee farming. I am still learning everyday. My motto is: LIVE & LEARN – this is the way of life.”

Until 2013, the company was selling its products to ECX (Ethiopian Commodity Exchange). Today Diamond Enterprise is exporting its specialty coffee to the global market in Europe and Australia. As a social responsible business, Diamond Enterprise has organized and is in the process of finalizing the legal documentation with more than 90 small farmers as out growers. Unfortunately, the out growers are mostly men, therefore, the company also works in the honey sector with women farmers & it plans to increase the number of women out growers to 30% (coffee & honey) by year 2019.

Dehab was overjoyed to have the opportunity to explore business opportunities in Norway thanks to Partnership for Change. She learned more about cupping and the value of her coffee during meetings with the Norwegian Coffee Association as well as met interested buyers for her speciality green coffee. PfC and CAWEE will follow-up with the company in the coming months to facilitate trade between her company and Norwegian companies.

To learn more about Diamond Enterprises, check out its website.

 

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Mohamed

Youth football player with the South Sudan Youth Sports Association (SSYSA)

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When Mohamed joined SSYSA’s football program in 2014, he was living in an IDP camp outside Juba for security reasons and had to “sneak” out to come for football trainings in preparation for the Norway Cup. In July 2014, Mohamed traveled to Norway, with support from PfC, as part of a Youth Football All-Stars Team from South Sudan that competed in the Norway Cup. He was the goalkeeper for these games.

Mohamed performed very well during the tournament, but was still very shy and showed signs of being a deeply traumatized boy. However, after his positive experiences at the Norway Cup, he took the initiative to form his own team in the IDP camp and has been participating in local football tournaments in Juba.

PfC Executive Director South Sudan, Arve Danielsen, remarked when he saw him again in July 2015:

“What a change! We found a boy with a lot of confidence and with clear vision about his engagement and responsibility. Today, he is playing an important role model in SSYSA and is highly respected!”