Jhai Coffee Dreams
Seven years ago Tyson Adams kept a dream journal and had a very vivid dream about starting a coffee producing business together with philanthropy. Afterwards he wrote down everything he remembered and suddenly had a 20 page business plan!
While traveling on a motorcycle through South Laos he found the perfect place for turning his dream into reality: the Bolaven Plateau, part of Champasak Province and with many coffee plantages, in fact 95% of the population is active one way or another in producing coffee.
He contacted the local governor at that time and started setting up the Jhai Coffee Farmers Cooperative with the aim of producing a high quality coffee by providing new tools and resources to local farmers. The farmers get a better opportunity to grow top quality coffee beans and have these roasted in-house at Jhai.
JCFC created a high quality coffee market with cafes in Vientiane and Luang Prabang buying their product and the local farmers getting a higher price for their coffee.
The philanthropy part came in by using the sales profit for providing local schools with books for their libraries.
It worked up to a certain point; unfortunately the donated books were afterwards not well taken care off…
Consequently JCFC started looking in other directions and found that there was (& still is) a much more urgent need for clean water wells and hygiene education (washing hands and brushing teeth).
To make this an effective program villages are required to co-invest 15 – 20 % of the total costs for installing a new water pump.
Once the pump is installed Tyson and his staff come over to practice basic pump maintenance and hygiene education for students and teachers alike.
The hygiene sessions are quite effective as they show the difference in water quality by having a child ‘with the cleanest hands’ washing her/his hands. Afterwards a drop of the used water is put under a digital microscope and viewing the ‘swimming’ microbes (on a laptop screen) makes an enormous impression!
So far 10 pumps have been installed and 2 more will follow soon.
In the future Tyson hopes that JCFC will be a completely Lao run cooperative, but for now they still depend on foreign assistance.
Both FIT clients and groups can visit Jhai’s Coffee Shop, drink fabulous coffee and have a chance to meet Tyson, Jackie Thao or Stacy La for an interesting overview of JCFC’s activities and even go on a coffee tour!