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Posts Tagged ‘baraka farm’

Cheese!

Cheese, Gouda to be more precise, is a very important part of life at the Lewa Children’s Home. Not that it is present in the children’s diet – they prefer their milk in a liquid, fermented form (called mala) – but because it is sold to families and businesses throughout Kenya and even all the way to Uganda and Europe!

This is gouda

This is gouda

The Baraka Farm, masterfully managed and developed by Dutch farmer Jos Creemers for the past 20 years, produces milk, fruits, vegetables, maize, meat and the famous Gouda for the children of Lewa and for sale on the local market. The proceeds from the sales are used to support the orphanage’s daily operational expenses. As any agri-business owner knows, this is not easy; because you first need to cover your own production costs…

Jos checks on his cows

Jos checks on his cows

Bread and Water for Africa UK has recently funded the expansion of the Cheese kitchen. The building is completed and the machines are ready to be shipped from Holland. This new facility will allow the Baraka Farm to process almost all of its milk (currently 500.000 Liters of milk per year!!) into cheese, which sells at a higher price than the unprocessed milk. The new cheese factory will even be able to purchase milk from the local dairy farmers in Eldoret, ensuring them a fair and stable income.

The new Baraka Farm cheese factory

The new Baraka Farm cheese factory

The new cheese factory, once fully operational, will therefore generate a significant additional income for the Home. This has always been a major goal for Phyllis: to become self-sufficient and stop relying exclusively on donations. In the current economic climate, the implementation of these projects, with crucial investments from Bread and Water for Africa, couldn’t have been more timely. It is still a long way until Lewa becomes financially independent – as a children’s Home, it may never be – but these carefully planned and forward-thinking projects allow the Home to make long-term plans for their children. For Phyllis, as for any mother, her children’s future is the number one priority.

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Since I began working for Bread and Water for Africa, I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I chose to take the non-profit route instead of following many of my fellow graduates to jobs in finance, consulting or the stockmarket (not that the stockmarket’s so desireable these days, but you get the picture). 

The first thing that I tell them is that this is the only job that I’ve ever had where I leave the office everyday feeling like I’ve really done something significant to help those less fortunate than myself. Every once and a while, something comes across my desk that proves this theory of mine.  I’d like to share with you one example of a source of my inspiration.

A few weeks ago, we received a package from Phyllis containing thank you letters from some of the children that we help her sponsor with school fees and basic necessities.  One of these letters in particular really moved me…

Thank you letter from Daniel Kimutai 
 
The letter reads:
 
Dear sir/madam,
 
It is with great honour and sheer gratitude that I take this opportunity to thank and appreciate your great devotion, commitment and willingness to enable me to be in school.  Many people wish to get this opportunity to learn but due to various social and economic reasons they can not.  During my previous phases of education, I have never been chased from school due to lack of school fees.  It is sad to see friends dropping out of school then drowning in the sea of drug abuse.  I thank God that I am not a victim.
 
Thank you for working hand in hand with our loving mother Mrs Phyllis Keino.  Through her, we have learnt the basic principles of Christian living such as respect, hardworking, humility and obedience.  I must assure you that success will be the fruit your labour.  You will be proud of all your sacrifices you have made to me.  When I grow up, I would like to be a lawyer, and my greatest objective in life is to the shining star and a role model to Lewa Childrens Home.  I know that with hard work and a great determination, I will achieve my goal.  Thank you very much and may you be blessed. 
 
Yours faithful,
Daniel Kimutai
 
This is just one of the many such letters that I have had the pleasure of reading since I began working here.  I’ll admit, it does make me feel a bit guilty about how much I complained when finals rolled around each year, knowing that I should have been grateful for my educational opportunities.  But knowing that there are organizations like Bread and Water out there to provide these opportunities to children and young adults without the means to achieve them themselves is not only inspiring… it’s reassuring. 
 
Bread and Water for Africa has renewed my faith in the goodness of people and in the power of determination and hard work.  I’m truly lucky to have the opportunity to see what the work of Bread and Water looks like on the ground.  And to think, Eldoret is just 5 short days away…

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