This is a project started by a group of UCLA undergrads to help raise the coffee producers of Quebrada Grande, Honduras, out of their extreme poverty.
For generations, these farmers who live and work high in the mountains of Honduras have been isolated from the rest of the world, with no clean running water, sanitation, health care, or education. The average family of five lives on about $0.74 a day, oftentimes only able to feed their children 4 or 5 times a week. What makes it so tragic is that they produce some of the most high quality coffee in the country, but because of their isolation they are forced to sell to middlemen (who they refer to as "coyotes") at criminally low prices because they have no other means of getting their coffee to market. They have no transportation of their own, and the one-lane, dirt road that leads up to their community is both long and hazardous, such that only the coyotes (and us) are willing to make the trip.
Furthermore, since they are only paid once a year during harvest time, they are forced to take out loans from these coyotes at ridiculous interest rates (up to 100%) just in order to survive until the next harvest. This of course creates a cycle of debt and poverty that the coffee producers of Quebrada Grande cannot hope to break on their own.
Our project, which has already begun the process of turning this group of coffee farmers into a strong, legalized coffee-producing cooperative, is changing the way they do business by solidifying the community and providing them not only with our own resources but with direct connections to the biggest coffee organizations in Honduras and the US who will help grow and sustain their business long after we're gone. Because that is our goal: to provide these impoverished people with the chance to take their livelihood into their own hands, and to make it sustainable for future generations.
For more information, please check out our website www.businessbrigades.com.