FAIR Talks June | Dukale's Dream
I have a blind friend who can tell how tall someone is, in relation to her, from a single handshake. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the feeling of shaking hands with someone reaching down to you. Okay…now imagine the weightless exchange of a hand stretched outward. Lean in, add a shoulder bump, and you’ve just been greeted by an Ethiopian.
Hugh Jackman and wife, Deborra, faithful donors and ambassadors for World Vision, decided to finally visit some of the stewards of their financial contributions. Dukale’s Dream is a video chronicle of their journey, of the people and places that inspired them.
Since the 1984 famine in Ethiopia, there has been a paradigm shift in the way our society sees aid, from inadvertently increasing dependency, to a greater focus on empowerment. But complex problems like poverty have no easy answers, which leaves skeptical consumers wondering if fair-trade prices really do help the poor. Hugh follows the story of one Ethiopian man, Dukale, to highlight the direct impact of organizations like World Vision, and how consumer dollars spent on fair trade goods can greatly help sustain the livelihood of farmers.
Dukale, age 27, has a carbon footprint of 0. With a methane gas converter from World Vision, he converts his livestock manure into fuel so he doesn’t have to cut down coffee trees anymore, leaving more coffee to be farmed and sold by a greater number of employees in his village. His house no longer fills with smoke when they cook, preventing the onset of respiratory illnesses in his wife and children. Hugh was amazed at how Dukale worked to develop his community, while still caring for the environment. Throughout Hugh’s stay, Dukale let him experience the daily life of an Ethiopian coffee farmer, their sheer proximity reminding them of something that’s always been true. We all live under the same roof.
When Hugh arrived back in NYC, he couldn’t undo the inscription Dukale and his village had etched in his heart. We all have resources to offer: talent, finances, time, intellect. Hugh was beginning to see that none of these is superior to the other, but something beautiful happens when we pool what we have together. Dukale had an advanced, innovative operation that was beginning to create more and more jobs for his community. Hugh had wealth and status. With that, Hugh began educating people in the streets about fair trade and spoke at United Nations about Dukale and what he witnessed in Ethiopia, but still felt like there was more he could do. Knowing that the best way to get a good price for their coffee was to promote it to actual consumers, Hugh started “Laughing Man Coffee Company”, for the economic freedom, community development, education and entrepreneurial support of farmers like Dukale. Sold
online and at Target, Walmart and select Kroger stores, 100% of the profits go to the laughing man foundation. And now they are partnering with Keurig Green Mountain, one of the world’s largest buyers of fair trade coffee.
Dukale’s Dream is one more story to weigh down on the scale of moral leverage for fair trade. He worked for years without hope, but now he has hope and goals and evidence of a community changed for the better.
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To learn more, visit dukalesdream.com.