Glanaman councillor jetting to southern Africa for charity mission
A GLANAMAN town councillor is buzzing as he prepares for an eight-week charity mission to the southern African country of Lesotho, to establish a groundbreaking orphanage bee-keeping project.
Jetting out on Friday from Heathrow airport, Councillor Emyr Jenkins, 47, who is a bee-keeper himself, will be working with Welsh charity Dolen Cymru.
The group supports a number of organisations in Africa, including Phelisanongan orphanage in the mountainous region of Lesotho, where Cllr Jenkins will be based.
“Phelisanong is a community-driven organisation that helps vulnerable people, including disabled children and whose parents have died from Aids,” said Cllr Jenkins.
The Welsh Government-funded project will see Cllr Jenkins working with members of the orphanage, supporting them in their attempts to set up and run a successful bee-keeping businesses.
“Phelisanog have a number of hives and a large orchard, but the community have not been given the correct training,” he said.
“In my role as manager I will be training teachers at the orphanage, plus 30 local farmers, showing them the ropes of bee keeping and how to out-source business opportunities.
“It’s a fascinating country, the weather isn’t going to be warm, but I’m used to that.
However, the altitude will take some getting used with Lesotho’s lowest point actually higher than Snowdon’s highest point.
“With little amount of resource due to the remote district, the things we take for granted in life will be limited, such as power and internet at our fingertips.”
Cllr Jenkins, a border force officer, working for the Home Office, has been preparing for the project over the last few months, including the study of bees.
A member of the West Glamorgan Bee Keeping Association, Cllr Jenkins knows pretty much all there is to know about the pollinating insect.
He said the African honey bee also known as the “killer bee” may sound scary, but they aren’t that different to the British Bee.
They earned their “killer” reputation for their more aggressive tendencies when defending their nests.
Cllr Jenkins is hoping that with his support, hard work and determination the bee farms will become a thriving success.
However, he accepts that there is a very real chance that the project won’t work and he may have to shut the farms down.
“That is the worst case scenario.
“I will be going into this with a positive attitude and hoping we can all work together to help this thriving community.”
On his return from Lesotho, Cllr Jenkins hopes to gain local support, and will be looking to start a twinning project between the orphanage and the Amman Valley.