I moved from Singapore to Tanzania in June 2009 to join my husband who was working there. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I co-own Wamama Kahawa Coffee Roasters, a start-up social enterprise producing hand-roasted Tanzanian coffee, which seeks to empower unemployed and unskilled Tanzanian women through fair wage jobs and skills-training in the art of hand-roasting coffee beans and the creation of coffee beverages. I was also involved with the UN International Crime Tribunal for Rwanda (representing victims of the Rwandan genocide), campaigned for anti-HIV awareness and clean water systems, and have been a volunteer with various local non-profit organisations. My experiences in Tanzania grew my passion for advocacy, human rights and social entrepreneurship, and I dream of someday being part of a successful, self-sustainable and effective social business which will help take people out of poverty.
In April 2011, I moved again – to Algeria – where my husband and I are currently working on a new project. I continue to oversee Wamama Kahawa’s operations with my dear friends/co-owners in Dar, and am also involved with Karama, a non-profit group which designs and sells products hand-made by artists in Africa. We live in a remote part of the country in Algeria, where day-to-day activities/recreation/mental stimulation are extremely limited (our daily commute revolves around, home, office and supermarket). Coming from a bustling city like Singapore (and even Dar, in fact), life here has been extremely challenging. Writing on this blog about the issues I care about is one of the ways I try to keep my mind active!
Connect with me on Twitter @changpqr!