Vegan Compassion Group
We are delighted to have connected with the Vegan Compassion Group whose core values mirror those of VinE.
Vegan Compassion Group is a registered charity whose mission is to fund specific projects that demonstrate vegan compassion in action both at home and abroad.
Here is an example of their school feeding programme in Ethiopia.
School Feeding Programme - Jihur Primary
Our first and still our largest partnership remains with the International Fund for Africa (IFA) in Ethiopia. For several years, dating back to before we became a registered charity, we had been providing funds for the most poverty-stricken children at a primary school in Addis Ababa to receive a carefully balanced daily vegan breakfast and lunch. Malnutrition and stunting rates in the country are high.
When COVID struck, IFA requested that our funds should be transferred to a rural school in the north of the country, Jihur Primary, and that, instead of school meals, we should fund monthly take-home parcels to help feed whole families who were struggling. We agreed, and were able to assist 124 children and their wider families during the school year 2020/21.
In September 2021, we renewed our funding to cover the current school year though to July 2022. This support is needed more than ever because, in addition to COVID, the brutal civil war in Ethiopia is spreading disastrously, impacting upon the nation’s economy as well as prompting the inevitable horrors that go with war. (The conflict has now spread to parts of the Amhara region, not too far from where Jihur school is located). According to the UN, 500,000 people are threatened with severe hunger.
Every month, each family receives a 10kg food parcel that includes locally grown barley, maize, teff, chick peas, wheat and sorghum and provides a wide range of nutritional benefits: carbohydrates/starch (energy), protein, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals. By improving the children’s nutrition, the scheme will hopefully improve cognition and learning achievement and increase school enrolment and attendance. It also offers food security, both to recipient families and to smallholder farmers who benefit from stable and predictable demand.
School Feeding Programme - Hana Primary School near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Since 2016, the Living Without Cruelty Trust has financed a scheme to feed roughly 100 of the most underprivileged children at Hana Primary School near Addis Ababa – a programme now taken over by the Vegan Compassion Trust
With crucial backing from the school itself, a kitchen and dining room have been built, parents have fulfilled the role of cooks, and menus continue to be meticulously planned to provide maximum nutritional value – mostly based on vegetables, lentils, rice, pasta, spices and bread. Ingredients are purchased locally, thereby helping the local producers. The long-term ambition is to establish a bakery and mushroom growing facilities that will sell produce to the local community and enable the school-feeding programme to become self-financing.
The costs for the first four years have already been met and the children are now receiving breakfast and a daily vegan meal.
Annual reports show that the children benefit both educationally and health-wise:
- Nutrition & Health Related for 100 students:
- Reduced hunger and nutritional deficiency
- Improved energy levels of beneficiaries
- Improved hand washing practices
- Decreased incidence of parasitic infections
- Education Related:
- Improved learning and attentiveness in class observed by teachers among beneficiaries receiving school meals
- Improved school attendance of students
We also asked an independent observer to assess the project, so that we could be sure that donations were being put to the best possible use. Kalkidan Legesse, who runs a Fairtrade clothes shop in Exeter (Sancho’s Dress), paid a visit to Hana Primary School on our behalf and was glowing in her praise:
‘I was really touched by the project, the thoughtfulness of it and how well the children are looked after…
The meal seemed well balanced and was also delicious! The children seemed content and only had positive things to say about the project…
The teachers said they had seen notable improvements in the exam results of the children who had been in the programme…
I have worked with various people from different organisations here, and I personally found Tsedaye (the project co-ordinator) and her team to be very committed and trustworthy.
I do believe it will make a difference to their lives.’
Vegan Compassion Group's Partners
The programme is administered by the International Fund For Africa, an inspiring US/Ethiopian-based charity run on vegan principles.
Tsedaye Bezabe, Programme Director, International Fund for Africa
“IFA is now in its fifth year of partnering with The Vegan Compassion Group and our organization has built a good rapport with our donor, with great ease in communication and it is with deep appreciation that we welcomed the flexibility in the use of funds for our work in another school. This is a unique quality of The Vegan Compassion Group. Additionally, sharing the vegan ethos has strengthened our relationship.”