While you’ve been following along with our journey back to Huila, Colombia, you’ve probably picked up on a theme: We love to learn. And since you’re reading this, we assume you do too. And we assume that you really like coffee. (Wow. We have so much in common.)
At First Watch, education is part of our culture. We want to know exactly where our cage-free eggs come from. We want to know which part of the country grows the juiciest strawberries. And we encourage and support our employees as they further their own education by going back to school. No matter which way you slice it, we think it’s exciting to learn and to watch others learn.
And, although there is an unlimited supply of information in the world, access to education isn’t as unlimited. That’s why our second trip to Huila wasn’t just about gathering more knowledge for ourselves, it was about contributing to the work the Mujeres en Café, or Women in Coffee, are doing to increase access to education for the youth in their communities.
The Mujeres en Café, our Project Sunrise partners, have focused their support on funding the local school in San Adolfo, Colombia. The students there, less than 40 in number, are all part of a long line of coffee growing families. While that farming talent is in their blood, the Mujeres en Café are hopeful that with greater access to education the children will be able to attend university and bring that knowledge back to the community. Deryi Pujol Gaviria, the principal of the school, encourages her students to earn bachelor’s degrees in fields such as natural studies, business and medicine. And even though students are only able to attend school for two days a week because of commitments to their family farms, most of them are accepted to a university program by the end of their schooling.
Unfortunately, educational resources aren’t readily available in the community of San Adolfo because they are in the midst of rebuilding after decades of civil conflict. And although an official school site has not been accessible, the Mujeres en Café work diligently to rent appropriate venues for the students to attend their classes. On our first visit with the school, we learned that the students had limited basic supplies and only three computers for the entire school. On our return trip, the Mujeres en Café proudly shared with us that, with the help of our ongoing investment, they were able to afford new materials for the students. We also had something to share with them on our second visit: a new computer for the school. Investments and contributions like these wouldn’t be possible without our customers, who continue to support and drink Project Sunrise coffee. It was an honor to present our partners with this gift, on behalf of all of the First Watch community, as a token of our commitment and dedication to their future.
Watching the school grow, the community thrive and the Mujeres en Café lead the way has been a rewarding part of the journey. It’s what inspires us to say “Better Coffee. Better World.” We know that a better world means something unique to each person. And since we know you love to learn, we encourage you to learn what that means to you and share it with someone over a cup of Project Sunrise coffee.