Jennifer Crooks: “Ethiopians are eager to create change in their country.”
3 November 2016
Every year, the Dutch Sport Horse Sales makes a donation to a charity. The charity the DSHS supported in 2015 and 2016 is Uryadi’s Village: a heart-warming project by Grand Prix rider Jennifer Crooks. Jennifer: “The goal of Uryadi’s Village is to empower the Ethiopian people to find ways to grow food that are not only sustainable, but also regenerative. In this way they are able to generate the crucial changes that are needed for themselves, and to maintain those changes, while respecting and honouring their unique culture and heritage.”
Uryadi’s Village is an international non-profit operating in rural southeastern Ethiopia in an area called Soddo. At the moment, the main project is Wolayta Village, a permaculture based orphanage community. Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered on simulating or directly utilizing natural ecosystems. The village is located in an area that is beset with poverty, high infant mortality rates, many preventable diseases, and one of the largest percentages of orphaned babies and children in the world. Jennifer: “Ethiopia is an incredibly diverse and beautiful country, with wonderful, kind, and resilient people who we call friends and partners, and who are eager to work alongside us to create change in their country.”
Land degradation in Ethiopia has exponentially effected the fertility of the soil, which has led to drought, famine, economic stagnation, and literal starvation. The children are the ones who suffer the most in a community that cannot feed itself, so Uryadi’s Village began by setting up a care centre for the children who have been abandoned or orphaned in the area.
A steady transformation
Jennifer: “We currently care for 30 children and have a round the clock staff of wonderful nannies. The local government has given us a piece of land to develop into a beautiful permanent home for our children. With guidance and wisdom of Permaculturist Warren Brush, the property is undergoing a steady transformation. We are already producing enough food to supplement our children’s diets, as well as enough extra to share with our surrounding neighbours. Construction is well under way on the first group of family style homes that will eventually be a permanent home to our children. They will move into Wolayta Village early next year. “