Africa calls on farmer
AN INVERLOCH man has helped give Kenyan orphans a better chance at life by establishing three successful farming businesses.
Now he has been asked to repeat his magic in the other African countries of Uganda, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dairy farmer Michael Malone worked with the charity OrphFund to create a viable dairy farm, poultry operation and flour mill that now support an orphanage in the Kenyan village of Kager.
The orphanage costs the charity $25,000 a year to care for 80 children, and the enterprises’ profits offset that expense.
Work on new projects in other African nations is due to start later this year or early in 2014.
“I love going to these places better than London and Paris,” Mr Malone said.
His involvement stemmed from his visit to Kenya with the South Gippsland charity, Bryn’s Schools, overseen by the local Hendry family. Mr Malone was part of a group building three classrooms through the charity, which aims to erect schools in developing countries.
Upon learning Mr Malone was a dairy farmer, a Kenyan man, Tom Muga, said: “We could do with a dairy farm here” and so the connection began.
Over three years, Mr Malone inspired the Rotary clubs of Leongatha, Wonthaggi and San Remo-Phillip Island, plus schools and friends, to raise $35,000 to bring the three farming operations to fruition.
Mary MacKillop College staff and students have collected more than $7000 through such events as a walkathon and selling eggs. St Joseph’s Primary School in Wonthaggi has given $2500.
Leongatha man Alan Vaughan provided guidance, drawing on his professional life as an agricultural consultant working to create viable farms in developing countries.
Orphans learn on the job with local adults, gaining skills that could help open career opportunities.
“A lot of these kids get to Year 8 and they need a sponsor to continue their education,” Mr Malone said.
Last November, he returned to Kenya with fellow Leongatha Rotarians Paul Beck and Col Byatt to finish the mill.
“There have been a lot of issues. They have to learn how to feed the cows right but the mill is working well and they’re making 1000 Kenyan shillings a week,” Mr Malone said.
The mill grinds corn from small plots to make flour for bread, providing cash income to farmers. Birds are bred for meat and egg production, with half the eggs used for food and the other half sold.
Mr Malone has helped the locals select well bred Holstein-Friesian cattle to produce quality milk for nearby industry.
“There are big dairy farms but not many, and they have got a lot of these small ones with five cows,” he said.
People are welcome to volunteer in Africa by raising $3000 towards to the farming businesses, paying their own way to Africa and being willing to work once there.
Alternatively, people can also sponsor a child. Some Rotarians are doing just that, with 100 per cent of funds going to orphans.
To get involved or invite Mr Malone to talk at your community group or school, phone him on 0439 343 843 or email [email protected]
OrphFund is a Melbourne based charity.
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