Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Helps Support African Farmers

Coffee for a Cause

Article by Erica Hernandez

Photography by Land of a Thousand Hills

Originally published in Cypress Lifestyle

Land of a Thousand Hills is a local coffee shop with a global impact. The shop exclusively buys coffee beans from African farmers deep in the Rwandan countryside. They pay farmers a livable wage while also funding village schools, education and health initiatives.

“By buying their coffee beans, we support them, which in turn allows us to support the Cypress community,” says owner Melinda Bodukoglu. 


Building Health Clinics

Coffee farmers live in remote villages in the Kivu and Ruli regions. The are is so remote that getting healthcare can mean a six-hour or even a two-day journey on foot. The trip sometimes keeps farmers and their families from getting any healthcare at all. Land of a Thousand Hills’ Do Good Initiative, the company’s non-profit, is partnered with the Rwandan Ministry of Health to build and outfit local clinics. The groups hope to offer public healthcare to coffee farmers and surrounding communities. The first clinic of this initiative was completed in July. 


Once complete, the clinics will be accessible to more than 10,000 farmers

This year the company raised $75,000 to build its first clinic


The Nziza Collective: Supporting women farmers

Nziza means ‘beauty’ in the Rwandan language. The women of Nziza Collective are widowed mothers or victims of abuse who live in the Kivu Lake area. “They lost everything and they did what they had to do to keep their families going,” says Melinda, who visited the women this summer. The women work at a Land of a Thousand Hills coffee washing station where they meticulously cultivate and hand-process their harvest. The company aims to support the women during the coffee off-season by providing training and supplies for income-generating trades such a sewing and basket weaving. The company's non-profit initiative relies on donations to purchase sewing machines and other materials for the women. 


The Nziza Collective provides some of the company’s highest quality coffee beans 

A $120 donation provides a Nziza woman with a sewing machine


Providing Clean Water 

Rwanda gets its name “land of a thousand hills” because of its mountainous terrain. And while the hills create natural beauty, they make traveling for daily water supplies a grueling journey. Many farmers rely on a water pipe located in a valley an hour’s walk away. The Do Good Initiative non-profit is focusing on building a water retainment system to hold rainwater year-round. The group, in partnership with the Water for Life non-profit, has already built two systems supporting families that grow the Ruli Mountain coffees. The group hopes to build another system for its Kivu Lake farmers. 


Building a concrete tank to capture, filter and store rainwater cost $20,000

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