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In June 2011 I spent a month volunteering at Open Arms Malawi with my partner Holly. Open Arms is a charity which provides food and shelter to many of Malawi’s HIV orphaned babies – here’s some information about the fantastic work they do, taken from their website:

‘We believe that every child has a right to life, survival and development. We provide medical attention, shelter, food and love to some of Malawi’s orphaned and abandoned children and work to ensure that the children in our care have the chance to grow up with the love of a family and the security of a home. We return, support and monitor immunised and fit toddlers to their relatives when we can, creating families and avoiding institutional care and in doing so enable communities to provide nutritious meals and nursery education to the orphans and vulnerable children within their community.’

Last Saturday was the 15th Anniversary Celebratory Ball for Open Arms, which was held at the Royal Hall in Harrogate. As well as attending the ball, we wanted to be able do something more to help support the vital work that Open Arms carries out. We therefore donated a year’s supply of our coffee, plus half a day at the roastery learning all about the coffee supply chain, to the silent auction that was being held on the night. We were delighted that our donated prize raised £220 for Open Arms and we look forward to welcoming the highest bidder to the roastery!

It was a real eye opener for me to witness the testing stages of early life as an infant in rural Malawi, facing the constant threat of malaria, malnutrition and poor access to sanitation. It is an experience that will stay with me forever and my time spent with Open Arms was actually the start of my journey into coffee – I knew I wanted to make a positive social impact wherever I ended up working.

This has been a founding principle of North Star and that is why we place such importance on where our coffees come from, how they have been produced and whether the people involved in the process have been treated with respect. We only buy coffees that are fully traceable and ethically sourced. If you would like to find out more about how are coffees are sourced, here’s a link to our importers Falcon Speciality’s website: http://www.falconcoffees.com/specialty/.

Although Saturday night was a great excuse to get dressed up and put on our dancing shoes, it also cemented North Star’s relationship with Open Arms and we look forward to supporting them further. If you would like to know more about the truly inspiring work that Open Arms undertakes in Malawi, then please visit http://www.openarmsmalawi.org.