Hingakawa: Press Center


On the 25th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, Hingakawa tells the story of two women who made the choice to rise above and choose forgiveness. Vestine and Genevieve are best friends—one Tutsi, one Hutu. Once on the opposite sides of war, these women experienced heartbreak in very different ways. Finding common ground through their shared livelihood of coffee, they are no longer each other’s enemy, they are each other’s strength.

Photos, bios, movie posters and more from the STARBUCKS PRODUCTIONS short documentary Hingakawa are available in the press kit. 

Hingakawa, which means “let’s grow coffee,” was formed to bring together women whose husbands were killed and those whose husbands participated in the killings during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks
The film Hingakawa centers around two best friends, Vestine and Genevieve. One Tutsi, one Hutu. Once on the opposite sides of war, these women experienced the heartbreak of conflict in very different ways, yet have found reconciliation within their friendship. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks
Following the 1994 genocide, Rwanda was a country of women. Over 75 percent of the men were either killed, in prison, or had fled. Families were left without fathers, wives without husbands and fields without farmers. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks
“I walk through this place and remember that my mom and siblings were killed in this valley,” said Vestine. She was in third grade when the genocide happened and was the only member of her family to survive. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks
For the first time in the county’s history, women took to the fields in what was predominantly a man’s industry, to provide for their families. From planting to growing to harvesting to processing, the women of Hingakawa are responsible for their coffee from start to finish. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks
Coffee has long been Rwanda’s primary export. Following the genocide, as a way to increase their productivity and cope with the situation, a group of Tutsi and Hutu women came together to create an unprecedented women-run and operated coffee co-op, called Hingakawa. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks
Now, almost 25 years after the genocide, these women have found a way to overcome suspicion, guilt, hurt, anger, and fear while redefining the future of community and setting an example for the next generation, while selling their premium coffee to many companies around the world. They are no longer each other’s enemy, they are each other’s strength. Melissa Lyttle
Hingakawa tells the story of women who, after the most divisive period of their country’s history, made the choice to rise above and choose forgiveness. Finding common ground through their shared livelihood of coffee. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks
Photo of Vestine and Genevieve
On the 25th anniversary of the genocide, Hingakawa tells the story of two women who made the choice to rise above and choose forgiveness. Vestine and Genevieve are best friends. One Tutsi, one Hutu. Their friendship is an example of what is possible. Melissa Lyttle for Starbucks

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Meet the crew behind ‘Hingakawa’ documentary

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