The Umuvumu Project

Through The Umuvumu Project, we are inviting our roasting community and their customers to raise money for a kindergarten that services the children of Buf Coffee. 

In Kinyarwanda (the national language of Rwanda) the word umuvumu refers to a type of sycamore tree, a long-living species with a broad, strong trunk and far reaching, leafy branches. The trees are planted around homes and villages to provide shade, and in doing so are often used as meeting places for the local community. It’s here that Rwandan people have historically gathered to share opinions and concerns and deliberated on how to progress their society positively.

When Buf Coffee’s founder, Epiphanie, and her son and general manager, Sam, came to name their latest social venture – a kindergarten located just a few kilometres from the coffee washing station, Nyarusiza, in Rwanda’s Southern Province – umuvumu seemed like a perfect fit. A meeting place, where Rwandan people plan and work together to support and uplift each other. And so, in January of 2019, Umuvumu Kindergarten was opened to service the families who farm and process coffee in the local area.

As a frequent visitor to Nyarusiza, Sam had identified the challenge many families face in finding adequate care for their young children during the busy coffee harvest season, when their parents must work on the farm or at the coffee washing station, and their older siblings are attending school (which is compulsory in Rwanda).  In building Umuvumu Kindergarten, Buf has not only found a solution for this problem but is also uplifting the community by providing access to early childhood education, a vitally important stage of learning and development for a child.

During our annual visit in 2019, we were delighted to tour Umuvumu Kindergarten and meet the many children who are attending the kindergarten. There are currently 168 attendees, aged between 3 and 6 years old, and 21 staff members headed up by principal Alexis Bikorimana. The children arrive at kindergarten at 7.30am and are picked up at 12noon, allowing their parents to put in a full morning’s work in the field or at the coffee washing station. Tuition is free and the kids receive a simple breakfast of porridge which, states Alexis, “gives them energy to learn”. Plans are in place to also provide lunch, once the kitchen building and dining hall have been completed.

Sam and Alexis have many plans for the kindergarten, and we look forward to seeing how it progresses over upcoming years. This year we are excited to be raising funds to contribute towards building an outdoor playground, which will help the children grow and develop physically and mentally.

MCM customers who have purchased any of Buf’s coffees this year will be invited to opt into The Umuvumu Project, a fundraising campaign that allows our roasting partners and their customers to donate directly to the kindergarten. Buf is aiming to raise over $50,000 to put towards this project, and we are hoping that through the work of the Australian coffee community we can collectively contribute around $10,000!

How to get involved

For Roasters

Roasters who have purchased Buf’s coffee this year will have the opportunity to opt into the Umuvumu Project. We are asking participating roasters to add a $1.00 premium to every 250g or 1kg bag of Buf coffee that is sold and to pledge to donate the proceeds to the Umuvumu Project. 

For Cafes
Cafes serving Buf Coffee (roasted by themselves or sold to them via a participating roaster) will also be invited to participate in the Umuvumu Project. We are asking participating cafes to add a $0.20 premium to every drink that is sold and to pledge to donate the proceeds to the Umuvumu Project. Alternatively cafes can opt to provide a day or weeks tips to the fundraising efforts. 

Supporting Materials

MCM will provide stickers to place on the bags and supporting postcards and signage so that participants in the campaign can communicate to their customers about the initiative and raise awareness. We have also built a website to direct roasting and cafe customers towards, which shares more about the project and how to get involved. Check it out here

Want to get involved? 

To learn more about about how to get involved in the Umuvumu Project, please get in touch