You might have heard: Pact Coffee is running, walking, and cycling to Rwanda! Well, not literally - but we’ve set ourselves the challenge of covering the distance from our London HQ to the Remera Washing Station, in Rwanda. That’s a lot of couch to 5ks!

Why are we doing it? Well, if it weren’t for the strange times we’re all facing, a Pact Coffee sourcing trip would be going on in Rwanda right now - so it’s a way to stay connected to our sourcing origins. But really, there’s a much bigger reason.

We’re raising money for National Domestic Abuse Charity Refuge. Because they need your support now more than ever.

Refuge: because no-one should have to live in fear of violence and abuse

Supporting over 6000 clients, Refuge helps women, children, and men escape domestic violence and abuse - giving them the tools they need to rebuild their lives. The essential work they do covers several areas: “domestic violence, sexual violence, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, human trafficking and modern slavery, and female genital mutilation”.

In practice, that includes providing temporary accommodation for those fleeing abuse, outreach into communities, providing independent advocacy and guidance, providing a domestic abuse helpline, researching, and campaigning for policy changes. And if that wasn’t enough, things have become even more urgent.

How lockdown has changed things

Lockdown and self-isolation. Hard to deal with at the best of times, but genuinely dangerous to those at risk of domestic abuse. Not only is it hard to find a way out, since people have been literally confined to their homes, but it’s even harder to reach out for support.

Refuge has reported a 66% rise in calls to their helpline since lockdown began - meaning they need all the support they can get to keep it open 24/7, so there’s always someone there ready to talk. Lives are at risk, so Refuge needs our donations more than ever.

About Pact’s Rwanda Challenge

The distance from our Bermondsey HQ to the Remera Washing Station is about 6609km. By plane, that’s a good few hours - and turns out by foot, it takes much longer!

But it’s a place that’s very close to our hearts. When we first went to Rwanda to source coffee, we met Epiphanie - a truly inspirational coffee professional. Widowed by the Rwandan genocide, and needing a way to support her family, she created coffee cooperative Bufcoffee from scratch - which now buys and processes coffee from thousands of farmers locally.

Since then, they’ve been pushing quality scores higher - and providing employment to hundreds of women at their washing stations. It’s somewhere we look forward to visiting every year, as the developments keep on coming.

Covering the distance, however we can, is our way to think of better times ahead - and hope to give others the chance for better times too, by raising money for an incredibly, urgently important cause.

Support Refuge and Pact’s Rwanda Challenge


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