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Business students support nonprofit, fight human trafficking

By Emma Slaven | June 11, 2021
Bebe Beans profits fund Casa Esther, a refugee home for women rescued from human and sex trafficking in Colombia. Photo courtesy of Bebe Beans

Business students completed a semester-long project bringing awareness to a Latin American nonprofit that houses pregnant, sex-trafficked victims.

Along the streets of Medellin, Colombia, are homeless women who wait for a helping hand to afford their next meal or fund their drug habit. Unfortunately, due to the country’s poverty and crime levels, the only people willing to take these women off the streets are sex tourists looking for their next client. Many of these women end up pregnant and alone, desperate to either seek an abortion or give in to the life of a sex worker. But now, with the help of a business class half a world away, these women are provided a home, job training, and a newfound hope for life.

The public relations team of the Organizational Change and Development course in Spring 2021. One of the promotional events for Bebe Beans was at Summerville’s Third Thursdays in the Square. Photo provided

The Organizational Change and Development class, taught by Dr. Darin Gerdes, took the necessary steps to save these pregnant women by promoting Bebe Beans coffee—a nonprofit located in Medellin that sells handpicked, free trade, organic coffee beans from Medellin’s 6,000-foot-high forests. Brian Miller, Medellin pastor, missionary, and founder of Bebe Beans, began selling coffee to fund the purchase of a home in Medellin, which became Casa Esther, a refugee home for women named after the biblical figure. 

The home is 100% funded by the coffee proceeds, according to Miller. CSU’s business course has helped increase profits. The students focused on Bebe Beans’ monetization, operations, public relations, and social media pages. The class helped the nonprofit develop its official name and branding in November 2020 and by spring 2021, the public relations group—including Ariana Mael, Anna Adamian, Katrina Webster, and David Darby—helped land Bebe Beans in the local news on three accounts: The Summerville Journal SceneThe Post and Courier, and WCBD News 2. 

“Our PR team has helped share articles and grow the social media pages, which leads to people from all over the country buying our coffee, not just South Carolina,” said Miller.

The effective strategies provided by CSU students and Miller have aided these abandoned women to find a home for themselves and their newborns, along with a job to continue supporting themselves after graduating the courses at Casa Esther. The profits made from Bebe Beans go toward supporting these women between ages 17 to 25, with additional funding going toward remodeling, donations, groceries, furnishing apartments for the women, and providing them with one month’s worth of rent following graduation. 

To support Bebe Beans and the young pregnant women in Medellin, follow their Facebook group, Instagram page and purchase their 12 oz. bag of coffee for $9.99 or subscribe to a monthly delivery for the same price. Your proceeds go directly to Casa Esther and the futures of the women housed there.

Read the full feature in the Summer CSU Magazinehitting the stands, mailboxes and online in July 2021.

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