Impact Stories: Jeanette

Jeannette is a 35-year-old coffee farmer.

One year ago Jeanette’s husband Everest heard that Kula was working with women to help support coffee farming businesses, and he immediately told Jeannette about the opportunity. They decided that she would participate in the Kula Fellowship, our 15-month program that provides industry training, business investment, and leadership skills, empowering fellows to protect their land, build profitable businesses, raise healthy families, and send their children to school.

Although they’d been growing coffee for over three years on their 200-tree farm, neither Jeannette nor Everest had ever received any formal agronomy or coffee farming education. Until then, everything they knew about coffee had been self-taught. So while Jeanette entered the program without much confidence, she also brought with her some big expectations for what she knew she could achieve.

At the start of the Fellowship, she and her family worked together to discuss their vision for what life might look like after the program. Their goals included expanding and improving their coffee business, and focusing more on their passion fruit and tree tomato businesses as well. And because agricultural businesses are seasonal, it was important that they eventually create an additional, more consistent business to provide them with a more stable, year round income.

Through these business ventures, Jeanette and Everest began to dream of providing a quality education for their three children. They told Kula they want their daughter and sons to have the opportunity to become whatever they want to become, and believe that starts with a solid education. Jeanette shares that same dream for herself, too. She hopes that one day, through the income earned from their coffee business, she will be able to return to school. With a deep affinity for mathematics and chemistry, she hopes to continue learning and working in these fields in the future.

 

 

When the Fellowship first began, Jeannette was nominated by her peers as a group leader, but struggled with feeling unsure of herself and her overall capacity. At times, she even wanted to resign from the position entirely. But as she began attending training in personal development, self-esteem, confidence, and community leadership, she felt a shift; a change in the way she perceived herself. As she worked more with her mentor, she began to witness how what she’d learned could significantly impact her life and the lives of her neighbors, ultimately coming to the realization that she was in fact a leader, and it was upon her to learn how to progress her group forward and achieve the collective impact they desired.

Jeannette became so inspired that she started speaking in public with confidence, and eventually made the decision to run for public office in her community. She won her election on the village level, then the cell level, and finally the sector level. Today, she is proudly the Representative for Women in the Murama Sector in the Kayonza District.

As for the initial goals they set, Jeannette and Everest have grown their coffee farm eightfold in just the short span of the Kula Fellowship. What started as a 200-tree farm is now a thriving 1600-tree farm, which is expected to yield them a bountiful harvest in two years’ time.

In her conversation with Kula, Jeanette told Kula that without them, she would not have achieved all of this. She is incredibly grateful for the program and all it has enabled her to realize, saying, “Now, the sky is no longer the limit…because my dreams exceed all limits.” 

We’re proud to donate 10% of the profits from every bottle of Maraba Coffee Liqueur sold to Kula Project to help fund their life changing fellowships.  

Read more about Kula’s impact and life changing work below.


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