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Inspired by the Hebrew word “Machaseh” from the Bible which means refuge or shelter, a café was born in Koronadal, South Cotabato in September 2016. This is no ordinary coffee shop.

Conceptualized as a haven that offers everything needed to survive, Refuge Café is also a place for learning and collaboration. Introducing their hashtag #notobadcoffee, Refuge highlights coffee as the protagonist in the story of drinks.

Refuge Café owner Charmaine Dawn Ladot—who is a consultant and practitioner of Quality Management System, Environmental Management System, Food Safety and Occupational Health and Safety—is committed to her vision. She would like to give back to the community by implementing the necessary systems in the café and by helping small enterprises learn and practice them.

Ultimately, Charmaine wants to go beyond Koronadal and create an impact in society through trainings and mentoring. For one, Refuge seeks to help women build brands of their own. They conduct trainings—in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry—to assist in livelihood programs on coffee production.

“We are young and just starting, but we believe that with constant collaboration with the DTI and the women of the South there will be enhanced skills in handling their coffee businesses,” says Charmaine.

With places like Refuge Café, coffee will surely remain as the world’s “survival juice”.

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