Why we need to "bee" engaged
On May 20th, Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC) celebrated World Bee Day. It was a valuable opportunity for all of us to recognize the important and severely underrated role bees play in food security, as well as reflect on opportunities to promote sustainable beekeeping throughout the year.
Did you know that 3 out of 4 crops that produce fruits, nuts, or seeds that we consume as food depend on pollinators like bees? Bees also help increase crop yields and provide additional agricultural income, which is crucial for smallholder farmers who need to feed their families.
At CFTC, we have seen just how far the impact of bees extends. With donations from dedicated CFTC supporters, families we partner with around the world are setting up their own beekeeping businesses to help their children thrive. Read more about how Zeena’s beekeeping opened sweet, new opportunities for her and her children in Ghana.
A sticky situation
For Zeena, educating her children has always been important. While she has never been to school herself, she has hopes for her children to progress to higher levels of education so they can access better opportunities and contribute to their community.
When the pandemic hit though, paying for their education became much more challenging. Zeena tells us: “It was difficult for me and my husband to get money and buy school uniforms, pens, books, shoes, and bags for our children’s education.”
Her son, Aliu, is studious and ambitious. He loves school and makes an effort to learn new things every day, so it was difficult for him to pause his studies during lockdown.
Aliu: “I am always excited about being in school and do not want to be absent for even a single day!”
Buzzing with success
Fortunately, in 2020, Zeena was able to join a women's beekeeping cooperative where she received training and supplies funded by donations from CFTC supporters. We caught up with her and Aliu recently, and it's all great news!
The cooperative is doing quite well. Zeena proudly tells us that the cooperative’s vision is to become the leading producer of honey in the five northern regions. And it seems they’re well on their way! Most importantly to Zeena though, Aliu is thriving in school.
Zeena: “Aliu now studies peacefully without any challenge because he gets his school supplies to support his studies.”
Aliu also tells us that thanks to his mother’s new business, he and his siblings now have more food to eat, including her delicious honey! “I eat at least three times a day and with a variety of meals. This was not so before.”
Today, thanks to her beekeeping income, she's also raising livestock and making improvements to her farm. She even hopes to open her own store in the near future. She is thankful for the beekeeping cooperative because it has brought her financial security and peace of mind.
"If my mother had not joined the program, I and some of my siblings would have dropped out of school, and feeding at home would also have been a challenge for us."
Give the gift of bees
You can help families like Zeena’s with the Best.Gift.Ever. Your gift will provide beekeeping training and start-up supplies that help farming families supplement their agricultural income.
Listen to our podcast First Comes Food, where we go on a journey through Indigenous food forests in Saskatchewan, farming communities in African countries and early childhood community programs in Bolivia to meet the people who are growing food security for everyone. Their stories may surprise you.
First Comes Food is now streaming on our website and wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.