Global Orphan Foundation is happy to announce that we’ve been awarded $25,000 to help expand our farming operations over the next year by BarnRaisers of Indiana. BarnRaisers of Indiana was established in 2012 to address children’s issues locally and abroad. They raise funds and put them to work with trusted non-profit partners who are working on sustainable projects to improve the health and quality of life for orphaned and/or under-privileged children and youth. GOF is honored to be one of their partners this year!
Using these funds, Global Orphan Foundation will be able to expand agricultural, livestock, and insect farming operations in Bolingo over the next year. These expansions will enhance the nutrition and quality of life for the children, as well as increase the financial sustainability of Bolingo Village. Our goal is to have farming income cover the operating cost of Bolingo Village – this gift will go a long way toward making this a reality ahead of schedule.
There are so many options on how we can spend these funds; eventually we’ll complete all of these projects, we’re now working on which to complete first to have the greatest impact.
Mature and young fruit trees. We’d like to have a blend of young and mature fruit trees in Bolingo – this will allow our production to grow as the young trees mature, while allowing us to stay budget friendly now. We estimate that we’ll purchase at least 200 trees. We’re working with an expert in DRC to determine which trees are best to buy young vs mature, which trees we need multiples of, and if there are specific planting windows for each type of tree. We’re looking into planting grapefruit, mango, lemon, avocado, pineapple (yes, we know it’s not technically a tree), banana and a few others.
Backyard gardens. Our sincere hope is that children will self-select a trade based on the chores or classes they enjoy as children. We will be adding small, backyard gardens that the foster families and the farm staff will work together to farm. As children grow in our village, they will grow up knowing how to grow their own food – a skill that will benefit every child, regardless of what vocation they choose.
Farm staff. We currently employ three farmers; these funds will help us to support them or grow their team should we need to this year based on the rapid expansion this award allows.
Additional livestock and enclosures. We want to start with chickens and goats. Starting with laying chickens so we can produce consistent protein in the village. We also want to have goats for milking and meat. Our staff already has the training to accommodate these additional livestock and we are excited to be able to expedite our timeline.
Expanded insect farm. Our insect farm is a huge hope for the financial sustainability of Bolingo Village. We’re excited to maximize our capacity in our insect building to have product to sell wholesale to restaurants in the surrounding community.
Irrigation system. The difference in seasons in DRC is astounding. The dry season is extremely dry and the rainy season is incredibly wet. This makes it difficult to grow consistent crops all year round. However, a simple irrigation system, hooked into our water catchment system and well as a backup would be a huge help in supporting year-round farming operations.
Composting. This simple process will help all of our farm operations flourish. With a system designed by Certified Consultants, an Indianapolis based sustainability and water management company, we will be able to capitalize on the waste from our families to help enhance the crops that we grow.
Bees. This is one area where our farm team is excited about the potential of learning something new! Beekeeping on our property would ensure that pollination occurs, while simultaneously producing honey for our families and possibly for sales. There is a farm a few hours away that does this that has agreed to help with training should we decide to go down this path.
While we don’t anticipate being able to fund all of these projects, we are excited about the process of determining which ones will have the biggest impact on our operations and seeing the change over the next year. All of these enhancements will allow us to alleviate food costs, refocusing funds on more kids, more care, and more programs for the children of Bolingo Village.