We sampled coffee from all over the world before finding the perfect bean in Huila, Colombia. The women who harvest our Project Sunrise coffee have taught us so much about what makes their beans unique and why their crop sung all the right notes for us. But when we sat down and spoke with Marleny Arambulo Monje, we learned more about what makes the Mujeres en Café special and what it means to persevere through hardship.
The civil conflict in Colombia reigned for over 50 years. That means the female farmers we have grown to know as friends and partners, Marleny included, have lived through the violence that surrounded the country for the majority of their lives. Many of them lost either a partner, a family member or, in some cases, many loved ones. Entire towns were destroyed by groups fueled by discordant politics and a lust for drugs and territory. But the people of Colombia, the Mujeres en Café included, were resilient. They built up their family businesses, or started from scratch, and continued to work in order to better their communities. With the violence behind her, Marleny told us she chooses not to dwell on the dark past but instead focuses on the possibilities a peaceful future will bring. We’re proud to be a part of that future. And now, we’re honored to introduce you to Marleny, mother of four, owner and operator of her own coffee farm and president of her local association of women coffee growers. She is what Project Sunrise is all about.