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Iraqi women learn sweet new profession
U.S. Forces Iraq ^ | Spc. Luisito Brooks, USA

Posted on 04/02/2010 7:28:44 PM PDT by SandRat

TARMIYAH – A blossoming new program organized by embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team-North is teaching widowed and divorced Iraqi women the ins and outs of beekeeping in order to help them put food on the table while they help put honey on the tables of others.

Twenty-five Iraqi women graduated from the beekeeper training program, March 27.

"These women are the heads of the household, many [because of] the sectarian conflict," said Mary-Denise Tabar, the public diplomacy and women's affairs advisor for ePRT-North. "The program aims to train local rural women on the theoretical and practical applications of basic beekeeping."

EPRT-North embeds with 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and receives its security from the brigade's subordinate battalions. This allows them to work safely on projects in areas north of Baghdad, including Tarmiyah and the city of Taji, including the bee course.

Taught in four-hour sessions over a period of six days, the course covered the proper care of bees and techniques to harvest their honey.

"The women were chosen by the non-government organization, Fafedian Foundation, who knows the community and the women who need it most," explained Tabar.

Interest in the beekeeping course proved to be extremely high, explained Tim Lowery, an agricultural specialist with the ePRT. They received more applications than there were available seats, so the team is already planning more for courses.

Upon completion of the training, each woman received her own active and healthy beehive containing thousands of bees, along with all the necessary equipment to operate it.

In total, the entire beekeeping training program, including the 25 beehives for the graduates, tools and supplies, cost approximately $23,450, said Tabar.

Each beehive houses anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 bees that on average can produce about 15 to 20 kilograms of honey a year. Bees also provide a valuable resource for local farmers, helping to pollinate their crops.

"For most of these women, this is how they earn income for their households," said Tabar. "They can sell a kilo of honey anywhere from $20 to $50."

During the graduation ceremony, family and friends looked on as the new beekeepers were called forward to receive their certificates and beehives. They showed their support of each other with rounds of applause.

The honey has yielded an additional benefit, bringing together these women who are dealing with great adversity.  And their new skill brings the added bonus of reducing the stigma that they are a burden on their families and society.

One graduate was so overwhelmed that she was brought to tears during the ceremony.

"A woman told me that she was so thankful for everything and can remember having bees as a child," said Lowery. "She said that she will raise the bees like they were her own children."

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: beekeepers; frwn; iraq; iraqiwomen; women

1 posted on 04/02/2010 7:28:44 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: Clive; girlangler; fanfan; DirtyHarryY2K; Tribune7; manic4organic; U S Army EOD; Chode; tillacum; ..
If you would like to be added to / removed from FRWN,
please FReepmail Sandrat.


2 posted on 04/02/2010 7:29:12 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat
And as an added bonus - they don't need to buy bee suits!
3 posted on 04/02/2010 7:30:52 PM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: SandRat

Heifer International has a similar program that includes bees and other livestock.

Our church passes out mite boxes each Lent for the collecton of monies to give to Heifer.

4 posted on 04/02/2010 7:33:36 PM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
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To: SandRat
kilo of honey anywhere from $20 to $50.

Is inflation rampant there? Is the dollar so much in the dumper compared to their money? Here, the going rate is more like $6 to $9 a pound, or $13 to $19 a kilo.

5 posted on 04/02/2010 7:38:05 PM PDT by C210N (A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have)
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To: SandRat

Seriously? This is what our people are doing over there.. helping widows become bee keepers? Does anyone remember if we even have a goal there any more?

We need our troops along the Mexican border.

6 posted on 04/02/2010 7:41:38 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: 2banana

A netting mask is all they need. The burqa takes care of the rest.

7 posted on 04/02/2010 7:42:16 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: SandRat

Oh Joy!/s

8 posted on 04/02/2010 7:59:21 PM PDT by MissDairyGoodnessVT (Free Nobel Peace Prize with oil change =^..^=)
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To: C210N

It’s gotta be organic or something, right?

9 posted on 04/02/2010 8:00:33 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine
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To: SandRat

This is actually quite big. Honey is a huge deal in that area of the world-as anyone who has ever bitten into a baklava knows. Incidentally, one of the ways al Qaeda financed itself was through honey franchises. Best wishes to these ladies-every victory, big or small, adds up.

10 posted on 04/02/2010 11:31:29 PM PDT by tanuki (Obamacare, Cap and Tax, Amnesty, in that order....)
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