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This Bureau County-based not-for-profit engages 28 full-time African trainers, who are trained in the FARM STEW curriculum and then go out and teach it to villagers. The “ingredients” help prevent hunger, disease and poverty. Trainers conduct hands-on classes, freely sharing practical skills so that, without creating dependency, people can help themselves. More than 80,000 participants in Uganda, South Sudan and Zimbabwe have benefited in the past four years. “There’s a lot of doors opening. It’s been very, very exciting. I’m as amazed as anybody at having the opportunity to expand to other countries,” Kauffman said. Kauffman and her team trained 62 leaders in South Sudan to improve areas such as farming, malnutrition and sanitation. Kauffman said one in three children in the country is severely malnourished, and there is not a health care system to treat chronic disease. Now she receives pictures and stories of the people’s lives who’ve been transformed, like baby Ketty, who was revived from near death. Her story and many others can be found on the FARM STEW website. Six thousand girls have been provided with washable cloth pads and panties for menstruation, which Kauffman said has completely transformed their lives by helping girls stay in school and giving them more dignity. FARM STEW hopes to reach 5,000 girls
A man from South Sudan grinds soybeans to make soymilk. Kauffman said in South Sudan, it’s unheard of that men do the cooking in their culture, so there were lots of laughs and fun during this training session.
in Africa this year for $15 per girl. A big focus this year for FARM STEW is improving water quality by fixing broken wells in impoverished communities. The organization has contracted with a local drilling company and hopes to install 50 pumps this year. Kauffman said 30 percent or more of the wells in Africa are just sitting broken and idle because the community doesn’t know how to fix them. The well drilling company FARM STEW partnered with is local and can install wells at an average cost of $4,600, when normally it would cost $10,000. Prior to getting the wells repaired, FARM STEW trainers work with villages to establish savings groups that can cover the cost of pump maintenance and well repairs in the future, therefore preventing them from sitting broken again. Trainers working with FARM STEW continue to teach plantbased nutrition, which is another way the organization is transforming lives. Kauffman said many villagers can’t afford milk or animal-sourced protein. One of the
most appreciated lessons FARM STEW has brought to villages is the knowledge to make soy milk at a reduced cost. “Kids get healthy, and parents feel like they are accomplishing something. It’s uniting families,” she said. “It’s so easy for people to feel hopeless about the world and focus on all the negative things happening in the world. We’re creating the possibility of people living an abundant life and it’s working. “We praise God for the opportu-
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nity to share his love in this way.” When Kauffman isn’t in Africa working on initiatives for FARM STEW, she’s back home managing the organization via the internet and speaking to local and national organizations interested in learning more about FARM STEW. “I get so excited about it. I want to convey some of the joy back to the people who are giving to make it possible. There are local people and churches like Hampshire Colony, ECC, Fairview UMC, and the Lutheran Church who are giving and spreading the word by letting us speak about the FARM STEW. I am so grateful for the local support,” she said. Kauffman is always willing to speak to groups interested in learning more about the mission, and she’s often in need of volunteers to help with local efforts. To learn more about FARM STEW, call Joy or Cherri Olin at 815-200-4925 or visit farmstew.org. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 291, Princeton, IL 61356 or made online.
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