Since 2018, on 20th May we celebrate World Bee Day. The importance of bees for the ecosystem and the food industry has long been known. But these insects are also a source of work and livelihoods in developing regions. One example is the Mantapala refugee camp in Zambia, where dozens of refugees have started to make a living from beekeeping thanks to Caritas Czech Republic.
When we proposed to start beekeeping in the Mantapala refugee settlement two years ago, the idea did not generate much enthusiasm at first. The possibility that they could make a living from beekeeping was unimaginable to many people. "Some people were afraid that the bees would sting them. Others doubted that beekeeping could have any economic benefit," explained Kennedy Simbao, Caritas Czech Republic's project coordinator in Nchelenge, Zambia.
In the end, a few brave refugees took up beekeeping. And it paid off. In the first year alone, they managed to produce 600 kg of honey, which they also managed to sell completely. A year later, the refugees had produced 2.1 tonnes of honey in nine months, and fifty new beekeepers had their income taken care of. And the success continues. We are now supporting beekeeping in Zambia in three refugee camps: Meheba, Mantapala and Mayukwayukwa.
A disadvantaged region
We help beekeepers not only in Africa but also on the old continent. Georgian beekeeper Nana from the rural region of Racha Lechhumi lacked the equipment to work effectively. "Honey extraction has always been very tedious and long. The whole process usually took us around two weeks," Nana recalls. Yet honey production is Nana's main source of livelihood.
However, thanks to the financial support from SlovakAid and the Sosna Ecocentre, we were able to buy more modern equipment for Nana. She can now manage the whole process in one day. Thanks to this, she is able to secure a sufficient income and does not have to move for work like many others.
Helping through bees has several positive aspects. People are happy because they have a job, and it is good news for nature, too. Pollinators are essential for many plant species, and it is estimated that we owe up to a third of our diet to them. However, bees are declining rapidly, so every new hive helps to slow this trend. As a result, insects also have more reason to be optimistic when helping scientists in this way. For example, in understanding the human brain.
It is only through your support that we can help more than just the beekeepers. You can donate by using the account below or by using the QR code. Thank you for helping with us.