One of the ways that World Vision helps to share joy in communities around the world is by providing beehives to entrepreneurs. Raising bees helps them learn new skills, pollinate their crops, and produce honey that they can eat and sell. Today, read about World Vision beekeepers in Mongolia!
Today’s challenge: Give someone something sweet! Some ideas: chocolate, cookies, candy canes…or even a sweet gesture, like giving someone flowers.
"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." —Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)
A bee-guaranteed life
After driving two hours through beautiful scenery, we arrived at a place in Mongolia where bees were swarming.
Eleven people, representing their families, are keeping almost a million bees there. They are part of the Buman Suregten solidarity group, which means 100,000 beehives. The solidarity group was established in 2010 and consists of 11 families. “We already became like one big family,” says Amartuya Khadbaatar, 30, the leader of the group.
Amartuya, with her husband Burensaikhan, were unemployed until they heard an announcement about the bee project facilitated by World Vision Mongolia. The young couple used to have hardly enough to provide their four children with clothes and dinner. The only organization that helped them to bear their cross was World Vision.
Their 7-year-old daughter Enerel has been involved in the sponsorship program. They received support including clothing, school stationery, and some food supplies for their daughter.
“World Vision saved us from hunger and suffering. We used to buy food by the money we saved from school stationery for Enerel,” says Amarzaya with a smile. “We still were lost in a market economy and could not find a right way of living. We have tried many kinds of small businesses but they ended by breaking,” she adds.
In 2010, Amarzaya and Burensaikhan heard about World Vision selecting beneficiaries for a beekeeping project. The couple decided to apply and joined the project.
“First, it was complicated to communicate and work together with people who did not know each other before. But we had one goal — to reach success and feed our children. We did not have the right to give up. Fortunately, all members of the families were so hardworking and kind. We could become one family and love each other very much,” Amarzaya says proudly.
At first, the solidarity group received 37 beehives with more than 15,000 bees in each hive. They agreed to raise more bees, and then return the 37 beehives to World Vision after the other hives were established. Then World Vision could use those bees to start another group.
After a while, the Buman Suregten group started to earn a profit from selling the honey and learned valuable techniques for beekeeping. Now, the Buman Suregten solidarity group has turned the original 37 beehives into 64, and they share the profits from beekeeping.
The solidarity group harvested 150 to 200 liters of honey from each of 10 beehives, with a total amount of almost 1,200 liters. During the winter, they will sell one liter of honey for 25,000 tugrik [US$22]. The monthly income for one family will be around 270,000 tugrik [US$250], which is enough to feed the families as well as save for the future.
After returning the original 37 beehives to World Vision, the group was left with 27 beehives. Next summer, they plan to increase their beehives to almost 80.
“I am happy that World Vision is giving us an opportunity and for other families to start their business with beehives. So we are very happy to give back the 37 beehives to help others who are suffering. All of us were in difficult situations before and now we are saved,” Amarzaya says.
Each of the 11 families in the solidarity group was new to bee farming when they received the beehives. They participated in many training sessions with World Vision about how to raise bees and also how to make a family budget. This way, they can buy warm winter clothes and good food rich in vitamins and minerals. Honey is also good for health and can be used year-round.
“Now our life is guaranteed,” Amarzaya adds.
At the top: Solidarity group members handling their bees and harvesting the honey. (Photo: ©2011 Enkhbayar Purevjav/World Vision)
The gift of a beehive will give an entrepreneurial family a way to pollinate and grow healthier crops. They can also sell the nutritious honey for additional income. In addition to the beehive, your gift also helps provide things like training in how to care and handle honeybees.