Heart for Africa brought hope to an entire community when they broke ground on their large-scale farming project in 2009 and invited the international agriculture community to work alongside to find a solution to hunger in Swaziland.
The growing multi-commodity farm and community provides food, care and education to more than 100 abandoned children who live on-site, and employment and training to 280 Swazis who operate the farm and care for the children.
“The children arrived at Heart for Africa because they have no place to go,” explains Fred Krahn, an egg farmer from Abbotsford, British Columbia who is volunteering his time to help plan the design of Heart for Africa’s layer operation in rural Swaziland.
Fred visited the operation just over a year ago to learn about Swaziland, Heart for Africa and the farm. He explains that this southern African country, that shares boarders with Mozambique and South Africa, has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world.
The epidemic has had a serious effect on the health of the Swazi people and has left as much as half of the country’s population as orphaned or vulnerable children, many of which are undernourished. Heart for Africa is doing what it can to make a difference by offering education, employment and hope to a community long forgotten.
Since his visit the number of children cared for by Heart for Africa has close to doubled and the community continues to welcome a new baby almost every twelve days.
“It’s all about the children,” he says. “They are expanding the facilities to accommodate the children’s age.” Their residence currently includes a nursery, medical and dental centre, toddle home and preschool that provides early childhood education and promotes the development of lifelong learning.
Most of the children are under the age of four years-old. “Like most children they are extremely curious and very observant,” he reflects. “We visited the nursery where they were very interested in learning why we were there.”
The children will also have the opportunity to learn about agriculture. “It’s a very good concept growing up on the farm,” says Fred who adds that they will be able to learn a trade and vocational skills.
The egg barns’ are currently being built thanks to support of generous donors and supporters. The structure of the open-air barns is complete and the equipment is being installed. Soon a team of volunteers will make their way to Swaziland to support the training of farm employees and provide guidance when the first flock of pullets arrive in January.
From talking with Fred, it was easy for me to see how much he believes in this cause and the respect he has for Heart for Africa’s founders, Ian and Janine Maxwell.
“They’ve built the business plan and are following it through with a lot of compassion.”
Donations can be made by visiting heartforafrica.ca (or heartforafrica.org in the U.S.) and by selecting “poultry house.” Your support will help bring a sustainable source of high-quality protein and better nutrition for an entire community.