Kiwi Agri expertise unearthing potential in war-torn Sri Lanka
Milk has many benefits, but Tearfund CEO Ian McInnes will be speaking in Te Awamutu about how it’s fostering peace between ethnic groups and lifting whole communities out of poverty in Northern Sri Lanka.
In 2012, Tearfund and the NZ Government teamed up to set up the Wanni Dairy Regeneration Project. Now almost in its sixth year, this project has mobilised farmers into cooperatives and rebuilt the cool chain infrastructure to improve the quality of milk. That, combined with a breeding programme, and other services has lifted farmer incomes by around 600 per cent.
“The results of the Wanni Dairy project have been just stunning,” says Ian.
“Some farmers are earning around $300 per month; that’s comparable to a mid-level government official.”
It is also helping to heal the wounds of the war and bring reconciliation and peace by encouraging Tamil and Singhalese ethnic groups—who were until ten years ago at war—to work together. Alongside every dairy project is a children’s club to protect and nurture vulnerable children affected by war.
“In the beginning the children would paint about their experiences of the war, but through many counselling sessions, they have started painting homes, streams and even the sun,” says Ian.
Due to the success of the project it has now expanded into a second stage, to reach a further 7000 farmers and include farm training for 10,000 youth in children’s clubs.
■ Ian will be speaking about the project at Te Awamutu Bible Chapel, at 7pm tonight. It is a free event and all are welcome to attend.