Hugh Jackman, Laughing Man and helping hands

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Hugh Jackman, Hollywood star and all-round good bloke, isn't the first person one imagines spending spare time planting coffee trees in Ethiopia, but Jackman believes humanity works better when people work together.

Putting his time and money where his mouth is, Jackman, a coffee farmer from Ethiopia and World Vision proved that social barriers can be stepping stones, rather than stumbling blocks.

In Ethiopia and other developing nations, coffee farmers work just like us to sustain their businesses, feed their families and educate their children.

But factors outside of their control make running their businesses difficult. They can’t access markets that can offer fair prices, and inefficient production methods limit their growth.

Left: Hugh works with Dukale on his farm; Right: Dukale teaches Hugh how to gather coffee.

Dukale is one such farmer. A family man living in Ethiopia, Dukale was hindered by the same circumstances facing legions of his fellow farmers.

He also had to harvest his trees for fuel—trees he needed to provide shade and oxygen for his coffee plants. His family spent their days gathering firewood, making it impossible for his children to get an education or for his wife to pursue her own business goals.

Dukale didn’t want to rely on people’s generosity. Like those of us above the poverty line, all he wanted was to realize the fruits of his own labour. After working with Dukale on his farm, Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman realised that he and Dukale could help each other.

So, casting their superficial differences aside and coming together as two human beings with one idea, they went into the coffee business together.

(Left) Dukale prepares food in the restaurant he could only afford to open after selling to fair trade certified buyers. (Right) Dukale with his children Elias, Dawit, Mestewat, and wife Adanech from left to right.

Dukale’s Dream - Official Trailer

Hugh Jackman traveled to Ethiopia as an ambassador for World Vision Australia, one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations in the world. While there, Hugh met a young coffee farmer named Dukale, who was working to lift his family out of poverty. After spending time on Dukale's farm, Hugh realized that something as simple as a cup of coffee could have a profound impact on global poverty. Hugh was so inspired by what he learned from Dukale that he made—and kept—a powerful promise.

Hugh loved the taste of Dukale’s coffee and wanted to market it, and Dukale needed better market access.

When Hugh first arrived home from his trip to Ethiopia, he spoke at the United Nations as a World Vision ambassador. Fair compensation for farmers was the topic of discussion.

He soon discovered two things. Firstly, that the coffee business is not set up to benefit the small farmer.

Secondly, he discovered that he wouldn’t be able to change the way the world does business without getting involved ...

... so in 2011, he launched Laughing Man with Dukale, a coffee and tea company that values farmers and ensures fair compensation.

Hugh’s promise

Hugh contributes 100 percent of his Laughing Man profits to educational programs, community development and social entrepreneurs.

A laughing world

100 percent of Laughing Man revenue goes to education, community development and new business development.

Delicious dreams

“Dukale’s Dream” is Laughing Man’s most popular coffee product.

As Hugh puts it, he and Dukale were not starting a charity. They were going into the coffee business.

The pair had formed a bond while working the farm together, and Hugh wanted to continue working with Dukale.

There was no infrastructure in Africa or the United States that allowed Dukale to access better markets, so Hugh created it through distribution and cafes in New York that introduced fair trade coffee to consumers.

Organisations like Laughing Man ensure ethical practices lead to fair compensation, better working conditions and sustainability for farmers in the developing world.

Not only that, but 100 percent of Laughing Man profit goes towards education, community development and new business development projects in the developing world.

World Vision is proud to have facilitated this partnership. It’s a stunning example of two unlikely people with vastly different lives coming together to do good in the world.

Coffee is a big industry, and your cup a day can make a big difference.

1.6 billion

cups of coffee

Are consumed on average every day worldwide

3 cents

per cup of coffee

Can be all coffee farmers earn for their products if they aren't protected by fair trade agreements

25 million

smallholder farmers

Produce 80 percent of the world's coffee

It’s the small things that make big differences ...

World Vision partnered with Dukale to construct a methane gas system that converts cow manure into lamplight and cooking flame. This simple innovation meant that he no longer had to cut down his trees, and that his family would no longer have to spend their days collecting firewood.

Now, Dukale’s children are in school receiving an education, his wife owns a small shop in the village and he’s teaching his fellow farmers cutting edge agricultural techniques.

These partnerships have allowed Dukale to increase production on his farm, hire more local workers, and re-invest his profits to buy more land.

A simple thing, like a stove or a cup of coffee, has the power to transform millions of lives…

…and World Vision is making transforming millions of lives a simple thing.