By Tadias Staff
Published: Saturday, July 14, 2012
New York (TADIAS) – Reverend Nicholas Richards, President of Abyssinian Fund, is also the Assistant Minster at Abyssinian, the legendary African-American baptist church in Harlem. “Abyssinian Fund came as a result of two things,” Rev. Richards told TADIAS, speaking about the four-year-old organization. “I had a really deep-seated passion to become involved in Africa and African development from my first trip there when I was still in college, and also because of the Abyssinian Baptist church’s history.” He added: “Abyssinian Baptist church is 204 years old and it was founded by Ethiopians and African Americans. So when I got to Abyssinian Church, I wanted to find a way to really bring together my passion for African development and Abyssinian Baptist church’s own history. And that’s really how we started Abyssinian Fund together. And when we decided to work in Africa, Ethiopia was of course the logical place for us because the church has such a really strong and rich history with the nation of Ethiopia.”
Reverend Richards describes Abyssinian Fund as an independent NGO formed by the Abyssinian Baptist church with the goal to reduce poverty in Ethiopia. “We try to do that by partnering with local coffee farming communities to increase their incomes, to provide training and equipment for them, and at the same time encouraging them to reinvest in their communities,” Richards explained. He pointed out that his group is working to create a market in the U.S. for Abyssinian Fund coffee grown in Harar, where buyers and donors would be asked to pay premium price – at least a dollar above market value, and that would be re-invested into the partnering coffee farm co-op in Ethiopia.
“And so this work, if nothing else, I hope that it is able to bridge communities together,” Rev. Richards said.
Watch the following video for the full interview with Reverend Nicholas Richards of the Abyssinian Fund.
Video: Harlem – Ethiopia Connection – President of Abyssinian Fund (TADIAS TV)