New “BEES”ness a sweet funding source for Project HOPE: Liberia

Getting the ‘hives’ has been a profitable venture to date. Wacky Wendell’s Honey, a social enterprise start up just outside Aylmer, Ontario, produced 260 pounds of sweet honey in 2018 and in turn, sold their stock with 100% of the sales going to Project HOPE’s newest partnership in Liberia.

Project HOPE: Liberia manager, Fred Varnie, has been building momentum in his community caring for orphans. Fred’s passion for helping vulnerable children started as he spent hours as a porter assisting patients during Liberia’s Ebola outbreak in 2014. As he witnessed firsthand the devastation of the epidemic, Fred decided that when he had the opportunity, he would create community supports for children affected by the crisis. Fred’s path took him to Wilfred Laurier University with an African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship. As part of his academic program, Fred was partnered with a Canadian business advisor. Wendell Graves, City Manager of St. Thomas, quickly built a solid rapport with Fred as his mentor. During his studies in Waterloo, Fred also connected with Project HOPE and shared his desire to create a sustainable community for orphans in his home country. After successfully completing his program, Fred returned to Liberia and quickly put his ideas into action.

Back on the farm, Wendell Graves started his entrepreneurial engine. After an intensive course in beekeeping at Guelph University, the bees and hives arrived. Soon, the bees started producing. “Wacky Wendell’s” honey has quickly become a popular artisan product in Elgin County and southwestern Ontario. The bees, Fred and Wendell, have become a sweet success in a very short amount of time.

While keeping track of Fred’s progress in Liberia, it quickly became evident that this endeavour fit completely with Project HOPE’s mandate. Project HOPE: Liberia has joined the partnership of programs hosted by Project HOPE as another critical mission to vulnerable orphans and a path to create sustainable community.

As outlined by Project HOPE’s Executive Director Christopher Graves “Project HOPE: Liberia is an incredible example of extraordinary people with strong community connection who make a significant impact. This is a true partnership of enterprise, mission and outreach that serves those who are vulnerable to give them hope. We are proud to be a part of this new project.”

The first investment of honey financing has made Fred’s first dream become reality, the building of a community centre. The Maple Leaf Academic Centre is currently under construction. The centre will be a mentorship hub. Lectures, tutelage, guest presentations, educational sessions and other similar activities will be regularly held at the centre with invited guests facilitating programs for local orphans. The centre will have a staff person on site to meet the needs of vulnerable children who access this exciting community resource.

Additional donations would be beneficial to encourage this new project. Please consider making a gift today to support this incredible new mission in Liberia.