News Release

How Bees and Goats Are Changing Lives in Jordan

Latter-day Saint Charities project fosters self-reliance

Syrian refugee Dohad Mohamad Alsholbi has been able to move his family from a tent to a house. Jordanian widow Hajar Abdullah Ali Daks now earns an income from selling goat milk and cheese to neighbors. These are just two of hundreds of people whose lives changed after receiving bees and goats, thanks to Latter-day Saint Charities and Jordanian charity al JAHUTH.

The project began in 2019 and aims to foster self-reliance by providing animals that people can use for both food and income. Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, provides the financing and al JAHUTH buys the goats and bees and arranges training classes for the recipients.

“Our collaboration with LDS charities is very important for us because they are the ones keeping the projects and helping the poor people,” said al JAHUTH CEO Sana’a Mansour Al Hashem.

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The effort started out small but has grown in just a few years. There are 135 households with 931 children that have received goats and 105 households with 766 children that have received beehives. Most are led by women who are widows or have been abandoned by their husbands or whose husbands are unable to work due to poor health. Many households include aging and disabled grandparents, so thousands of people have been helped by these projects.

Latter-day Saint Charities representatives Stephen and Susan Zwahlen point to Hajar Abdullah Ali Daks as one of the success stories. She was a single mother living in a small cinderblock house with six children. She received two goats, and two years later, the flock increased to six.  

“The milk and yogurt and cheese she was able to produce gave her enough income that she could move into the house that was propping up the other shed. She was able to pay rent and send her children to school and basically take care of her family,” Stephen Zwahlen said.

The beehives have also proven to be a powerful way to help people in Jordan become self-reliant. Al JAHUTH was able to find a breed of Italian bees that is more docile and does not go after children and pets, which makes it easier to raise them near homes. Each hive has about 35,000 to 40,000 bees. In addition to providing the beehives, Latter-day Saint Charities and al JAHUTH also arranged training for the beekeepers.    

“We found out that the Ministry of Agriculture Extension Center, which was in a very destitute area of Jordan where a lot of refugees are and very poor Jordanians, that would give them the classes for free,” Susan Zwahlen explained.

Syrian refugee Dohad Mohamad Alsholbi said that the beehives have helped him rebuild his life after moving to Jordan.

“When I first arrived, living was very difficult. I was very depressed,” he said.

Alsholbi worked hard to learn how to manage the beehives and within two years, his beehives had grown from two to four. He was also able to buy a machine for separating the honey. The profits from the honey enabled him to move into a house and send his children to school.

“I found that it could be a good source of income, thanks to God,” he said. “I am proud to have an income, to have a second chance in life with the bees. I believe in the Lord, that He is providing for my children. He is helping me, and I have to keep going in order to continue to reach success.”

Alsholbi now wants to start a company selling honey products. He is also helping to train other beekeepers.

“That’s the kind of thing we see through Latter-day Saint Charities projects is that it strengthens the partners and the communities as well as the individual beneficiaries,” Stephen Zwahlen said. You see the light of Christ in these people's eyes … they are uplifted by the same force that motivates all men to do good.

Al JAHUTH founder Sheik Mansour Oqlah Al Hashem says that it is his Muslim faith that motivates him to be generous and help others.

I cherish God Almighty and I cherish [the people], because God has enabled me to deliver to these needy families, Sheik Mansour said. “We are all brothers. We are all from Adam and Eve.”

Sana’a Mansour Al Hashem agrees that the charitable work her family is doing through the al JAHUTH foundation is rewarding and satisfying.

“When I put my head on my bed, I am thinking that God is very happy with me because I am helping these poor people,” she said. “God will help us when we are doing good things.”

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