WEEK 16 – THE 52 WEEK LOVE PROJECT
Welcome to Week 15 of The 52 Week Love Project. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
The project will showcase LOVE at it’s finest, share their stories – what they do and why they do it! It’s an opportunity for us to find out what inspires them and what keeps them going when challenges or self-doubt assail them.
MEET: Ervin, Founder of Colombian Coffee Connection LLC – Coffee With Heart
When asked what his advice was for others that want to make a difference in the world:
‘Go ahead and do it’
‘We can’t change the world but we surely can change someone’s world for the better, and the best thing is that it doesn’t take much. Start with something small, perhaps help your neighbour or a relative, from there move on and help someone else. At the end of the day you will realize that it is not the great projects or enterprises that change the world but the small little efforts done with love by people who care!’
Ervin Liz (right) pictured with his father
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
I was born and raised in a coffee farm in Colombia. In 2010 I got a scholarship to study and finish high school in Norway. From there I was accepted and granted a scholarship to study economics at Luther College in IA, US. In 2017 I graduated from Luther with a BA in economics and funded along with Jon Baklund my business partner and investor the Colombian Coffee Connection.
The goal was to use the knowledge I had acquired during my years growing up in coffee farm in Colombia to start importing and selling coffee in the US. Another goal that I had was to pay the farmers a better price for their coffee and donate a percentage of the profits back to the community.
From the moment we started operations and until today we have purchased our coffee directly from our farmers at 3x the price compared to the local coops. We also donate 10% of the profits back to the community to build new houses for homeless Nasa indigenous elders. In addition to that we organize fundraisers where private donors can contribute directly to the specific project that we are working on.
The donations and the projects are managed through our humanitarian initiative ‘Coffee With Heart’. The Colombian Coffee Connection is not a non-profit entity and ‘Coffee With Heart’ is not an organization on its own. ‘Coffee With Heart’ is merely a private initiative through which we channel resources to help Nasa indigenous elders in need.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am the founder of the Colombian Coffee Connection and my primary job is sales and project management. In terms of our humanitarian initiative, I organize the fundraisers and wire the money to Colombia to be used in the execution of the projects. The funds for the projects are audited and monitor with the use of official receipts, videos and pictures. I also travel to Colombia every semester to inspect progress and so on.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
I drew inspiration from my past. As I mentioned previously I was born and raised on a coffee farm in Colombia. I grew up in a village that didn’t have road and electricity until 2003. I also experienced how low prices negatively affected farmers in the region one of whom was my father. My past experiences and knowledge of the urgent need amongst elders were my source of inspiration to found the Colombian Coffee Connection and to donate part of the profits back to the community.
From left to right: Tara Baklund, Jon Baklund (business partner), Yanil Muchicon (farmer), Dilmer Muchicon (farmer). Currently, we are buying coffee from Dilmer and selling it in Bogota, Colombia.
HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF DOUBT?
Action. I live by a simple rule, just do it.
Self-doubt in my experience comes from inaction, every time I do something and get even the smallest of results I know that I am headed in the right direction. The results that I get also serve as feedback which I use to decide to continue on the same path or redirect my efforts towards something different.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE/CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
Go ahead and do it. We can’t change the world but we surely can change someone’s world for the better, and the best thing is that it doesn’t take much. Start with something small, perhaps help your neighbour or a relative, from there move on and help someone else. At the end of the day you will realize that it is not the great projects or enterprises that change the world but the small little efforts done with love by people who care!
DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE OR EXPRESSION THAT YOU LIVE BY?
Just do it!
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I love the outdoors but most importantly taking pictures of birds. Birds have always captivated me because of their colourful feathers and because they can fly. I often have dreams flying so perhaps that has something to do with me liking birds so much.
HOW CAN OTHERS HELP/GET INVOLVED?
People can help in two ways:
1) by purchasing coffee from the website (US and Canada only).
2) by making direct donations to one of our projects. Currently, we do not have a fundraiser campaign undergoing. The best way to know when our next campaign is going to be and to get involved is by signing up to our bi-weekly newsletter. Sign up form on the website.
Visit our website: here
Learn more about our Humanitarian initiatives: here
Follow us on Instagram: here
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