Rose Charities is partnering with Hearts and Hands Cambodia(HHC) in an exciting new project, which both supports HHC’s Daycare Centre near Battambang and launches a new sustainable beekeeping initiative in this community.
For over ten years, HHC has provided care, love and support to 75-100 local children who are among the poorest from eight villages surrounding the Centre. As families struggle with local unemployment and lack of financial resources, they know that their children receive the best care at the Children’s Centre: two healthy meals daily, preschool education (the first ever in the region), personal hygiene (bath time, teeth-brushing, clean clothes), medical
attention and a wonderful safe place to play and be themselves – normal children.
Rose Charities found HHC through our mutual interest in improving Cambodian livelihoods by supporting bee populations and honey production. Whilst volunteering at the Rose Charities Rehabilitation Centre in Phnom Penh, Rose Vietnam Director Jan Johnston took time out to make contacts with beekeepers in Cambodia. Her research took her twice across Cambodia and eventually to the doorstep of Hearts and Hands Cambodia. HHC founder, Christine Wagner, had been working to get a bee project going in the region for years in order to provide stable income opportunities for the parents of the children. (The area is the agricultural heart of Cambodia and home to a large bee population, despite poor handling methods used by local farmers that frequently result in the death of the bees.)
On return to Canada, Jan contacted Surrey’s Honeybee Centre, the hub for CEO John Gibeau’s Bee World Project, a not-for-profit organization that assists people from the poorer regions of the world to improve their quality of life through beekeeping. As Bee World Project had already launched a project in Cambodia (in nearby Pursat), they were keen to consider another and sent an expert to Battambang to determine project viability.
Meanwhile, Jan continued the hunt for funding and in July was rewarded with a Bee World donor commitment for the entire bee project plus matching funding to help sustain Daycare Centre operations for the next year! In early 2013, a Bee World Project instructor will travel to Battambang to spend one month training up to 30 farmers from the eight surrounding villages. In addition, the older children attending the Sobbhana Daycare Centre will begin to learn beekeeping in order to provide training for potential livelihood opportunities in the future.
This is the first of three phases that BWP is committing to the region over the next decade. Securing a beekeeping project will assist families to increase their earnings and eventually the families will be able to contribute to the cost of the care for their children. The Centre, when not in use by the daycare, will be perfect as a central meeting place for the beekeeping villagers.
The mutual objective of Rose Charities and the Bee World Project is to create a self-sustaining beekeeping economy in Battambang that will supply badly needed income as well as increased nutrition through the consumption of honey and additional fruit and vegetables benefiting from the increased pollination that the bees provide.