We were honored to welcome Manyang Reath at our recent NEXUS USA Summit in Washinton D.C. to serve his new socially good coffee brand, 734 Coffee throughout the two days. Manyang’s story is a remarkable story of preservance, determination and a relentlessly positive spirit. He has turned the horrors of war into hope for a better, more caffeinated, future.
Manyang’s earliest memories are of war, death, and of his own uncle trying to save his life. At age 3 Manyang became a refugee of the Sudanese civil war. He is one of The Lost Boys, a group of 20,000 boys who were displaced and orphaned. Manyang’s father was one of the two and a half million people killed during the war and Manyang was separated from his mother and sister at an early age. For 13 years Mayang lived in refugee camps along the Sudanese and Ethiopian border, where homelessness, hunger, fear, and abuse were part of his everyday life.
At age 17 Manyang was brought to America where he learned English and eventually enrolled in college. He started Humanity Helping Sudan to improve the lives of Sudanese refugees and attempt to battle the problems of an entire displaced population. Humanity Helping Sudan runs on the ground programs at refugee camps where they provide fishing nets, agricultural programs, and community gardens, reaching 40,000 displaced people. With a college degree in hand, Manyang’s full attention now is on growing his non-profit so he can help more refugees. Recently, Manyang launched a coffee brand called 734 Coffee in May 2016. After the coffee is brought to the US, 80% of all profit go right back to refugee education and training project in Gambella.
734 is more than a number, it is a place of refuge. 7.9220°N and 34.1532°E are the geographical coordinates for Gambella, region in Ethiopia where over 200,000 displaced South Sudanese now live after fleeing war, atrocities, drought and famine in South Sudan. The coffee itself is harvested by growers in the Gambela region. After the coffee is brought to the US, 80% of all profit go right back to refugee education and training project in Gambella. 734 Coffee gives Humanity Helping Sudan a new way of supporting its mission. Every bag of 734 coffee tells the story of refugees to create awareness about their plight and to motivate people to take action.
The refugee community is one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Many have experienced horrific torture and trauma. There is a significant lack in awareness of these issues within the media. Without increased awareness of the displaced refugees, acceptance and integration into other cultures will be very difficult or met with resistance.
Humanity Helping Sudan has been advocating for refugees for nearly 10 years. There are currently more than sixty million displaced people in the world. Manyang wishes that he could tell every single refugee’s story because through his own experience, he understands that once people are aware of the story of the Lost Boys, they feel a moral responsibility to help.
In South Sudan alone, there are more than 2.25 million people displaced across its borders, facing poverty and famine. At the core of 734 Coffee is the promise to tell the story of the world refugee crisis and give new hope for the economic prosperity and self-sustainability of Sudanese refugees. 734 Coffee uses education to empower these communities and we hope to inspire other community leaders to join the movement.