Strong Women Behind A Strong Coffee

This beautiful coffee-table book is the work of Denyse K. Uwera, a multi-faceted content creator, based in Kigali, Rwanda, who uses photography and storytelling to broaden the expected narrative of her subject – the rural African woman.

100% of profits from the sale of this special book will go towards Supporting Strong Women, a fundraising campaign to build awareness and generate support for Rambagirakawa, a women’s association within the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative in Rwanda’s Northern Province. 

Learn more about the campaign and donate directly here.

Through her photo book, Strong Women Behind a Strong Coffee, Denyse showcases the strength and resilience of Rwanda’s female coffee growers and producers with a series of stunning black and white portraits accompanied by the women’s stories – told in their own words and describing their journeys, their joy, their challenges and their perseverance. The beautiful images and writing allow the reader a glimpse into the lives of these resourceful and inspiring women and to understand how important and impactful their work is to the community.

Since forming in 2012, Rambagirakawa has advocated tirelessly for greater autonomy, support and resources for Rwanda’s female landowners and coffee farmers. Through this campaign, the Australian coffee community aims to raise $15,000 by June 2024 to construct a day care centre for the all-women group and the wider coffee producing community. Accomplishing this long-held goal will directly impact the women’s productivity and prosperity, while also ensuring their children are cared for in a safe, happy and nurturing environment, surrounded by their community and with their mums, aunties and grandmothers close by.

Melbourne Coffee Merchants first connected with Denyse in 2019, through our dear friends at RWASHOSCCO (a cooperative owned exporter who we have worked with since 2008). Over the course of 2018, Australia’s coffee community had raised funds to construct a multi-purpose building for the women of Rambagirakawa, a women’s alliance within the Dukundekawa cooperative in Rwanda’s Northern Province. Seeking a professional photographer to join us for the opening ceremony, we were put in touch with Denyse – who ultimately joined us on the day and has provided us with photography services ever since.

Her skills behind the camera help to tell the compelling story of the women and other producers, and the heartfelt admiration and deep connection we feel towards them. Today, we are delighted to showcase her beautiful book, which advances these stories further, in the women’s own words, along with her stunning photography.