Welcome to my first blog post! I thought I’d start a blog as an easy way to keep you updated with my new project but I guess I should start at the beginning.
I’ve always worked in the care sector, from hands on caring roles to management and training. Despite what you might hear to the contrary, in this country we look after people well. Sadly in other parts of the world this simply doesn’t happen.
So how did we get here. When my father in law sadly passed away we were left with a lot of equipment that we frankly couldn’t give away. And I know this isn’t an isolated case, we often get phone calls at the charity I work for from people with equipment they no longer need.
At one time The Rotary Club sent unwanted equipment in good repair to Africa but they’d stopped due to cost. It seemed a shame if there was a surplus of equipment here and a need there.
When I was younger I always wanted to do voluntary work abroad, particularly Africa. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to go, one of those places I just know I’d settle right into. Here seemed an opportunity to actually do something useful.
So I thought about how I could go about setting up a social enterprise to meet the costs.
So a couple of trips down to Cardiff to chat with Franck at the Center for African Entrepreneurship and the idea for Sarah’s Coffee developed. Coffee is one of Africa’s largest exports so it was the logical choice.
My working title for this whole venture was Cariad – love in Welsh. But as a name for a coffee business, well it made sense to keep it simple! I’ve kept Cariad as the project name, it’s simple and doesn’t tie the project to working with anyone country.
So that was the social enterprise sorted but where was the project going to support. Another trip, this time to meet Dr Fabrice Nduba who has links to hospitals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He told me that whilst disability equipment is often supplied by NGO agencies in the towns and cities, it is not readily available in the rural areas. And what is available is often not affordable.
It shocked me to think that the charity I work for supports older people, over 50. In DRC life expectancy is 49.
Clearly the key to this whole project is identifying what’s needed and where so Dr Nduba is going over to DRC in March to do some research and I hope to visit later in the year.
Obviously not all the equipment needed will be available via donations of unwanted items. New equipment will need to be purchased and shipping costs covered. So while I hope Sarah’s Coffee will generate some income to support the project I will also seek grant funding to cover some costs.
So longer term I hope to see what can be developed in the areas that the project will be active in DRC to make the provision and recycling of equipment sustainable.
So, that’s how this all came about. I look forward to sharing with you how Sarah’s Coffee and the Cariad Project develop.