Coffee With A Conscience

I love coffee. Am especially a sucker for freshly brewed ones, what, with their distinct flavors depending on which type of bean was roasted, or where it was sourced.

But this isn’t about that.
I was happy to chance upon this as my 1st volunteering activity for Hands On Manila (HOM). A team of volunteers helped a coffee farm in Cavite, operated by people who were once streetchildren. Yes, simple, grassroots and transformative things are happening right around us.

The organization that’s making this happen is called KSEM or Kanlungan sa Ermita, Manila. This group has been executing its transformative precepts for almost 25 years. They had started out by taking in streetchildren along Ermita, Manila, providing them shelter and other necessities, as well as education.

Having eventually been granted an agricultural area by kind souls not too long ago, KSEM turned this into a farm where the kids can also stay and partake in formative activities there. Part of what sustains the funding of this group are the proceeds they get from the produce of the farm. Since they have coffee trees, they produce coffee beans. Now, they have a coffee shop in Ermita serving their own blend – also manned by the boys and girls of KSEM.

Here is us meeting at the coffee shop before heading to the farm:


Landscapes, flora and fauna:




The volunteering activity involved building a fence around the farm to protect the area. This would greatly help the boys and girls of Kanlungan to protect their produce and avoid unwelcomed elements. They need all the help they can get!

Here are some photos of the volunteers in action:





Look ma, the wall is slowly coming together! Yeay!


Above is a candid photo of me talking to Ms. Joy, the overall coordinator for KSEM. She’s a darling.

This year, KSEM is sending over 10 students to college. Talk about nation building and paying it forward! In our own little way, we can help this endeavour by supporting their venture, while enjoying damn good locally brewed coffee. A perky caffeine kick comes along with it, to boot.


This is documentation of the coffee I’m having as of this writing.

Want to help out in other ways? Digging the farm scene? You can be part of the next batch of volunteers to visit their farm! HOM will be having two activities with KSEM this month. More details are available when you like the Hands On Manila Facebook page.

Not only will you help in transforming the lives of others by joining this, it is also a process of transforming oneself as we reach out, make our worlds bigger and take in more of the beautiful and meaningful things that exist in this world.


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