A former refugee wants to help others that are in the same situation he was once in. He will help them in the same way that he helped himself, through an education. He is doing this through his coffee company – 80% of all the money from sales go towards education in the form of a need-based scholarship for refugees.
Manyang Reath Kher was one of the 20,000 children who were displaced and orphaned by the civil war in Sudan. Since the age of three he was one of these Lost Boys. He spent all of his childhood up until he was 17 years old hungry, in fear, and abused living in refugee camps along the Ethiopian border. Then he was miraculously given the chance to emigrate to the United States and leave the torture behind.
He didn’t let the horrors of his past plague his future. Instead, he took full advantage of this blessing of a new beginning and focused on his studies. Soon enough he earned a degree in international law at the University of Richmond. While he was still in school, he started his Humanity Helping Sudan Project (HHSP) with hopes to improve the lives of those still struggling to survive in the camps that he left behind.
HHSP is a nonprofit dedicated to providing Sudanese refugees with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve self-sufficiency. HHSP has helped hundreds of Sudanese refugees start a new, prosperous life by offering vocational programs, access to clean water, and farming tools. In order to raise more money than by relying on donations alone, there is 734 Coffee – the social enterprise arm of HHSP.
The coffee comes from Gambela, Ethiopia, and is ethically sourced, fair trade, naturally farmed, and locally roasted. Not only is it delicious, but it also represents hope for all the hundreds of thousands of displaced South Sudanese citizens who currently live in the region after fleeing war, atrocities, drought, and famine in South Sudan. That definitely makes it an exceptional bag of coffee.
“At the core of 734 Coffee is the promise to tell the story of the world refugee crisis and give hope for economic prosperity for Sudanese refugees.” – Kher
The name 734 (734, or 7.9220°N and 34.1532°E), is the geographical coordinates for Gambela, a region situated between South Sudan and Ethiopia. It is where the refugee camps are located and where Kher grew up. Creating demand for the coffee of this region promises economic growth for the people. The company employs South Sudanese refugees thus providing both a sense of purpose and a steady paycheck for them. The beans are then shipped in bulk to the U.S. where they are processed and bagged for sale.
“Coffee from the Gambela region is lauded for its rich flavor – medium bodied with hints of caramel, spice, and berries with a smokey chocolate aftertaste.” – Kher
HHSP and it’s 734 Coffee are committed to creating a deep, lasting impact in the face of ongoing violence and civil war. In order to do so, they launched “Refugee CampUS,” an education program that aims to provide 100 – 150 individual scholarships to Sudanese refugees per year. As of now, the program is providing full tuition for 10 refugees that have been carefully selected. They are individuals who have shown exceptional drive and ambition but lack the means to pay for school.
“Our scholars will include refugees of different education levels, from children pursuing a primary school education to adults pursuing university degrees and vocational degrees. The common factor between all of them will be a passion for learning and an ambition to help others.” – Kher