Becca Turner travelled to Rwanda last year as part of the Starbucks Origins Experience. She visited Send a Cow projects that have been supported by Starbucks fundraising. We asked Becca about her trip and why she continues to support us.

In February last year I had the immense honour of travelling to Rwanda with Send a Cow where I spent five days travelling around rural communities and Send A Cow projects. Every day we would leave the city and head to Rwanda’s Eastern and Southern provinces. The smooth tarmac roads of the city soon turned into steep hills and deep, red, rugged terrain (thankfully we were in 4x4's!)

There are too many highlights to mention in brief. One that explains why I continue to support Send a Cow- along with Starbucks- is when I visited the Jyambere project. I saw clearly the impact our direct fundraising has. It was deeply grounding to see it right in front of me. Experiencing a project designed to create employment opportunities and sustainable livelihood's for vulnerable, farming families made such a deep rooted impact on me.

One of the main reasons I travelled to Rwanda with Send a Cow was to be able to come back to my peers and tell them about my experience. I met communities who had suffered hardships but also bounced back from the genocide in 1994. I had to make the relation between what I had experienced as a Starbucks partner visiting these community projects and how I could bring that home.

I continue to share stories from those five days. Working in the coffee industry topics of sustainability, transparency and ethical sourcing regularly come up in discussion. Being in Rwanda with Send a Cow ignited even more drive and determination for me to support where possible; not only within the coffee industry to support the communities and countries that we depend on so much for our commodities.

"We forget to slow down and appreciate what we have"

I'm passionate - even more now - about building in elements of environmental responsibility right here in London and sending the message out to teams about what we can do to balance our share of environmental impact.

When I look back to a year and a half ago I remember moments like sitting in the house of a farmer. He took us in to his home to shelter from a much needed downpour of rain. He had such pride at the empire he had built and what he had achieved by working with Send a Cow. I remember the joy of the communities when a period of drought was met with the most immense and incredible storms I've seen. I now never, as a Brit, moan at the rain. We forget to slow down sometimes and appreciate what we have and how to look after it.

Looking to the future

It’s amazing to see so much support for this year’s Coffee and Cows appeal with Starbucks, raising money to launch a new project in Nyaruguru District, Rwanda. I am raising funds by selling my own Coffee and Cow themed illustrations. At the time of writing this I have already raised enough for a cow, so it's a great start!

I'll also be working with a few teams to host a special event for Send a Cow in one of our Central London stores. We’ll end the campaign by trekking 15 miles across the Thames, starting at Putney Bridge and ending at Tower Bridge.

I'm so proud to continue sharing the work of Send a Cow, bringing the names and stories of those farming families who welcomed us into their homes back to the UK. We’re doing all of this for them.

Once again, thank you to Send a Cow for bringing me on this journey - I’ll never forget it. One day I hope to return and see the impact of this year’s fundraising events and how it's supporting projects that are part of the next chapter.

Proud to be your ambassador,

Becca

Find out more about this years Coffee + Cows campaign with Starbucks