As chronicled by Sir Richard Branson on his website, Branson highlights the heartwarming and life changing efforts of Hugh Jackman to bring an Ethiopian community out of poverty through “coffee.”
The ‘World Fair Trade Day’ is a moment to celebrate the positive change Fair Trade is helping to stimulate on the world’s most vulnerable populations.’ Fair Trade’ provides a transparent trading system that creates fair prices for long-term trade partnerships, with good working conditions. The movement is improving the lives of millions of people and their communities.
While on a trip to Ethiopia as an ambassador for ‘World Vision Australia’, actor and activist Hugh Jackman met a small-time coffee grower named Dukale. The pair hit it off, with Jackman impressed by Dukale’s commitment to providing for his family and creating a great product.
However, as well as many other enormous obstacles, Dukale was being held back by a lack of access to markets to sell his coffee. This led Jackman to discover a wider problem of the coffee industry not being geared towards benefiting small farmers. From distributors to cafes, ‘Fair Trade’ was not a priority within the sector. He realised that Dukale didn’t need a hand out – he needed a co-worker.
Jackman started ‘Laughing Man Worldwide’, an organisation that helps provide farmers like Dukale with access to markets through distribution and promotion. It then reinvests its profits to help support the next initiative. Now Dukale and many others like him are able to build their businesses at scale and provide better for their loved ones. You can help support them by buying coffee from ‘Laughing Man’ and purchasing other ‘Fair Trade’ products.
‘Dukale’s Dream’ and the ‘Fair Trade’ movement are all about celebrating entrepreneurial spirit, rewarding hard work and treating people as one would wish to be treated. It’s something we always try to practice at ‘Virgin’, and more and more organisations are beginning to realize the benefits of focusing upon people and the planet as well as profit.
I was fortunate enough to meet Jackman in New York and briefly hear about his future plans for ‘Laughing Man’ and learn all about Dukale’s inspiring story through this film.
Dukale’s Dream will be in select theaters on June 5th: