501 Life Magazine | Harding students lend helping hand
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Harding students lend helping hand

Three Harding University students, who spent last summer serving in East Africa, brought home coffee beans that are being served exclusively at Kibo Midnight Oil Coffeehouse in Searcy.


Lindsey Luter, Sarah Roe and Abby Smith spent six weeks in Uganda as interns with Kibo Group, a United States-based nonprofit organization focusing on creative development initiatives in East Africa. The organization strives to grow deep relationships with Africans as it partners with them to address the challenges of extreme poverty with healthy, sustainable solutions.

Through its Experience East Africa project, Kibo Group hosts those who want to learn and create positive momentum in Africa. “We believe that the best way for Americans to understand extreme poverty is to experience Africa first-hand,” said Clint Davis of Kibo Group. 

Roe, from Nashville, Tenn., said the Kibo Group employees in Uganda made a tremendous impression on her. “They each cared for their people so intimately,” she said. “They had been given an opportunity to help their people, and they were stepping up to that challenge confidently. It was inspiring to see that. It made me more passionate about my culture and helping in it wherever I can.”

Kibo Group’s other projects include:

Water Source, which equips communities to have a long-lasting, clean water source by breaking cycles of dependency and poor sanitation.

The Mvule Project, an economic development program focused on planting trees, raising goats and helping communities learn to work together to solve problems.

The Women’s Empowerment project, which works to equip women to live full, healthy lives by training them in parenting, preventative medicine, relationships skills and other important lessons.

All Kibo Group’s projects have one goal: communities of people who live full and healthy lives.

Founded in 1997, Midnight Oil coffeehouse in Searcy is now owned by the Kibo Group and contributes its profits to the organization’s various projects. 

The three Harding students brought back a total of 40 pounds of coffee beans from Uganda, and those beans were roasted by RoZark Hills Coffee Roasterie in Rose Bud.

Midnight Oil also supports local musicians and artists. The Harding students’ photography from Uganda is also displayed throughout the shop.