#IWD2016 + Guelph + Cafe Feminino

by crystal wilson

Last night, many of the Flow team members had to opportunity to spend International Women's Day in a room full of inspiring, passionate men and women at the Innovation Guelph "Ignite, Empower, Innovate" dinner. A highlight of the event was getting to hear our very own April Burrows speaking about Cafe Femenino and inspiring many in the room to take on the challenge of  intentionally doing one thing each month to contribute to the empowerment of women.  In case you missed it, here is a peek at what she said:

I’m delighted to be here to share with you about Cafe Femenino, a project that has captured our hearts at FLOW.
We had the pleasure of being able to meet Isabel and her husband last year. We were inspired by not only their commitment to change their own communities but also their commitment to supporting other Women centric organizations as well. 

I have these “I want the world to change” thoughts in my head every single day – many hours of the day…. and it’s still way easier for me than I’d like to admit, to make every day decisions that are not for the betterment of people and the planet.

So, one thing I am committing to do is to support our friends in Peru – and purchase coffee from a place where they in a few short years are already seeing the rate of domestic violence decrease, girls are being sent to school (medical school even), men and women now more than ever making decisions together about their homes and families.   Proof that our actions affect the lives of others…..

I think of it as a relationship – I guess I don’t believe in chance – I feel that Planet Bean came across Café Femenino for a reason – to connect Guelph to Peru.  And what’s my response? Purchase the coffee, find ways of telling the story and build the relationship wider.

I know even at last year’s event one of the messages we were left with was that when we make a commitment to the small changes it can make a huge difference in creating the kind of ripple affect we are longing to see.  Sometimes we need to get more specific to help us recreate our lives with this purpose in mind. 
What if each of us in this room today made a commitment to once a month do something with the intent of empowering women?  This could be anything from a word of encouragement, to how we make purchases; it could be speaking out, supporting a cause or sharing an article.   It could be mentoring, giving $10 to a microfinance program for women or being on a board.  There are approximately 200 people in this room – that would be 200 acts of empowerment a month.  Over the course of a year – 2400 ripples of change this small room of people can make – and I can guarantee you – once we start it will spread like wildfire. 

About these families in the villages in Peru - what would it do to the spirits and lives of the families in these communities if our purchase of Café Femenino coffee doubled in the next year?  Will you join me to find out? 

 I believe transformation can happen one bag of coffee at a time…


We will be continuing the celebration of International Women's Day March 10 at Planet Bean downtown,by speaking with some Guelph entrepreneurs who are using their power as business owners to empower women in amazing ways.  Please join us and get in on the conversation!