Pat the Child

Aid organisation in southern Uganda
Foto: Pat the Child drama group
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Life Dairy

There are over one million Aids orphans in Uganda alone. Many people die of Aids in their thirties, when it is not rare to leave behind seven children. These orphans would normally be taken up by family, but because of the vast number of orphans and the financial situation of the country, this is often not possible. Orphans that end up in orphanages have smaller chances of finding a job when they grow up, and have less access to good schooling for lack of money.

Why yoghurt?
To help these Aids orphans, and to achieve an independent income to sustain a number of other projects, we started the yoghurt project in 2003; Yoghurt is very popular in Uganda, but cannot be produced enough because banks do not easily lend money to starting entrepreneurs. With the help of the donations from the Dutch organization SYPO, we are able to build a small factory for yoghurt production.

This film (8 min.) gives a nice overview of the project. It is largely in English, including an interview with project manager Fred Kaggwa:

Donating cows
While building the factroy, hybrids between Fresian and native cows are donated to women in the region who would like to take up an orphan, but do not have the financial means to do so. They can receive a cow under the condition that they give away the first female calf to a next single woman, who is als selected by Pat the Child. The money they get by selling the milk allows them to take care of the child, and send it to good schools in the area. The income that is generated with a single cows is already higher than the national mode.
The women can keep the male calfs, but these stay in the SYPO network to be used in the breeding programme. SYPO has taken time to see whether the cows could function in the local climate, and with the local diet. Although all cows are born and bought in Uganda even small changes in diet could pose large medical problems. Luckily, this has proven not to be a problem, since all cows are still alive and many calfs have been born since 2003.

The yoghurt factory
Pat the Child buys back the milk from all cows in the programme, and makes it into yoghurt in a newly built factory. This yoghurt is not only tasty, more expensive than milk and very popular, but can also be kept much longer, even in the tropical climate of Uganda. All profits of the yoghurt sales go to sustaining and expanding the yoghurt project, and other projects of Pat the Child.
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