„I lived next door to the farmers, slept in wooden huts, showered with rainwater and heard the voices of nature. There it was again - the feeling of freedom and happiness.”
"Albana, why do you throw away a secure job as a top manager to sell açai berries from the Amazon?" It's a question I've been answering regularly since I started Rainforest Company. I admit: my venture was daring and somewhat unconventional. But for me, it was the most important step of my life so far. Because it gave it a whole new meaning. Above all, it enables a better future for many people today.
I grew up in Kosovo, in a small village called Botushë - with my grandparents, surrounded by animals and untouched nature. My parents came to Switzerland as guest workers in the seventies. We didn't have hot water and money, but love, cohesion and endless nature. During my stay in the rainforest, I had the feeling of being back in a place from which I came emotionally - a place where the values I knew from my childhood mattered.
At that time, however, I was still living in a world of fast money and equally fast consumption. By my late twenties, I had made the leap to the managerial level and was holding my own as a chief financial officer in a male-dominated industry. This brought me self-confidence and courage, but above all financial independence. I was proud of what I had achieved. However, I lacked purpose.
Then in 2015, I planned a trip to the Brazilian rainforest. What was planned as an adventure vacation at a survival camp turned out to be the greatest adventure of my life.
At the crack of dawn, I went to harvest acai with local farmers and learned all about the miracle berry and its trade. The desire to actively protect this magical place with its stunning wildlife, plant diversity, and wonderful inhabitants grew stronger. I had to give the farmers a financial incentive to continue to manage the forest in a healthy way.
Back in Switzerland, I quit my job and the idea of The Rainforest Company was born. Today, we provide farmers with a secure and fair income and work together to protect our planet.