H.E.L.P. – Helping people help themselves
The Honduras Education Life Project (H.E.L.P.) is an aid project through which since 2016 we have helped to improve the production, living and education conditions of coffee growers in Honduras. Through targeted skills transfer and community assistance we want to help small farmers and their families in the low-income Santa Bárbara region build a secure foundation for their future.
Specifically, this means economic, ecological and social assistance towards securing a good income for coffee growers. The support of female coffee growers is particularly close to our hearts, so we make a special effort to help them meet their many challenges.
J.J. Darboven employees see the progress on site
In November 2019, a group with employees of J.J. Darboven and representatives of Olam visited the site of H.E.L.P. in Honduras to get a personal impression of the successes of the project and the general situation in Honduras. In many conversations with project participants, doctors, teachers and other people from the field of coffee growing, visitors were able to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges on site and the support options available for H.E.L.P..
In addition to a better understanding of the situation in Santa Bárbara, numerous improvements in the cooperation could also be achieved. For example, regular video conferences are held on the progress of the projects discussed during the trip, so that support can be intervened quickly in the event of problems during implementation.
In several videos recorded in Honduras, the project participants and Simone Müggenburg, Head of Central Marketing at J.J. Darboven, and Ben Gamm, head of green coffee purchasing, speak about their impressions during the visit to Santa Bárbara and the many advances made by H.E.L.P. in the fourth project year.
We Europeans love our coffee. In our part of the world the leading coffee-drinkers are the Scandinavians, by a good margin, but coffee is important everywhere, as a morning waker-upper, office caffeinator, or café relaxant. Coffee is the second biggest trade item on the world market, and the most popular drink of our time. During the past 20 years, world coffee consumption has almost doubled, driven by the continuing penetration of new markets by café chains. Considering this popularity, it’s odd that we pay so little attention to where our beloved pick-me-up comes from.
Who is thinking of the coffee growers at the origin of our beans while having their morning coffee? In Honduras, for example, the coffee harvest is very time-consuming and exhausting for small farmers. The Arabica coffee cherries grown there grow on mountain slopes that are difficult to access, are harvested individually by hand and then carried in baskets on the back to the small haciendas of the coffee growers. For 500 g of coffee beans, a coffee farmer has to pick and process approx. 2.5 kg of coffee cherries, while in Germany we simply reach for the supermarket shelf.
For us, coffee has always been one of the good things in life. At J.J. Darboven we think that if you’re going to enjoy top-quality coffee you should also give some thought to the quality of life of the people who grow the coffee at the source. Accordingly, in October 2016, for the 150th anniversary of the company we decided to set up an aid project for coffee growers and their families in Honduras. Together with Olam, a raw materials supplier active worldwide, we founded the Honduras Education Life Project, or H.E.L.P. for short.
At the start of the project 250 coffee farmers were planned for the H.E.L.P. program, but thanks to the great local interest the number of project participants quickly grew to 277. Based on measurable successes, in October the number of participants was raised around 300. Since then, in addition to continuing and expanding existing activities, the focus has been on improving educational opportunities for coffee growers’ children.
In the first two years of the H.E.L.P. project in Santa Bárbara, with our help participating farmers succeeded in improving the quality of their Arabica coffee to the extent that we now use the beans for our IDEE KAFFEE products. This shows our support and appreciation for the hard work of the existing H.E.L.P. project participants, and creates a motivation for new ones. The aid project is also featured on IDEE KAFFEE packages.
About IDEE KAFFEE