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Making the most of your mercy in Kashmir

We’ve been helping vulnerable rural communities in Kashmir regain their livelihoods. Our expertise in restoring livelihoods ensures your mercy lasts for generations to come.

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Your mercy is building a sweet future in Kashmir

The devastating earthquake of 2005 highlighted the vulnerability of the remote areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. We’ve been working here since the earthquake, helping to support people during the emergency, and we’ve stayed ever since, supporting livelihoods and helping families to be resilient in case of future disasters.

This project does not just acknowledge the delicate ecosystems of the natural world but it turns a vulnerability into a profitable advantage for local families. With the local environment particularly vulnerable to climate crises, it is also perfectly suited to the cultivation of honey farms.

Honey has a long history of domestic farming here, conventionally kept in wall hives, but the earthquake put an end to that practice. In the aftermath of the earthquake we recognised the unique opportunity to scale up indigenous knowledge of beekeeping to create local livelihood opportunities, while simultaneously supporting the region’s biodiversity.

In 2009 we chose to launch this project using a local wild species of bee – Apis cerana. Without a documented history of raising these bees in colonies it was slightly unchartered territory, but one that had the potential for enterprising and dramatic success. After a cautious trial with 10 farmers that yielded success, we’ve since trained 891 farmers, including 114 women, with each receiving four hives.

Farmers receive three days of training, protective equipment, and tools, as well as four hives. Even after successfully managing their bee farms, they have access to their trainer for as long as they need – even many years later.

Within just a few years, the farmers we’ve trained often triple their production to 12 or more hives. Some farmers who we trained five years ago are now thriving with more than 40 hives. 90% of farmers from this initiative have expanded to open more hives. In short this project empowers people to have not just a livelihood, but a sustainable livelihood with the potential for real growth. Some have earned enough to open a second business, build new homes and send their children to university.

Our honeybee farming initiative continues to grow, expanding to other areas in Pakistan. To date, we’ve trained 891 farmers of whom 13% are women.

In the last 11 years farmers have raised 3,564 hives, yielding 95,000 kg of honey. Since the start of the project in 2009, farmers have sold £1.5 million worth of honey. We’ve supported 891 farmers (including 114 women) and developed a training manual on Apis Cerana to share the knowledge.

Each year, we organise a honey exhibition at a state level, inspiring farmers to showcase their honey, build business opportunities and to share their valuable knowledge.

We blazed a trail, harnessing an entire industry; at the inception of this project we had to procure equipment and hives from Islamabad, but this booming trade has now taken off - with other farmers launching businesses completely independently. Hives and many other products are now produced and available at local markets.

We haven’t just stopped there. We’re constantly innovating and looking for ways to improve. We recently organised honeybee farming training for more than 100 students at the Zoology Department of Azad Jammu and Kashmir University, sparking students to conduct graduate studies on the Apis cerana, further developing regional knowledge of this understudied bee.

What has your mercy provided?

  • 3,564 hives since 2009
  • 95,000 kg of honey produced, worth £1.5 million
  • Hives and training to 891 farmers, including 114 women
  • 3 days of training, equipment, and 4 hives to each farmer

How do we ensure sustainability?

At the inception of this project we struggled to find a specialist in this type of honeybee farming. Today, our trainer who has been with us for fourteen years, lectures at universities. With indigenous knowledge and experience, we’ve helped to launch a new industry in the region, benefiting not only the farmers we support, but local businesses and other farms too. It’s a unique farming model that took precise expertise, and the decades of experience that Human Appeal brings to all our projects.

Sustainability is built into the fabric of this project. Bees outgrow their space after an amount of time, and our farmers are taught to expand their hives, allowing them to not only sustain their livelihoods, but grow them. Our technical trainer is on-hand to answer questions that farmers may have about pests, expansion, and extraction for as long as needed.

Our advanced techniques preserve and support the local environment, and we’re also teaching farmers to use the by-products of bee farming – such as wax - to create more profit.

We always safeguard the vulnerable communities we support with rigorous protection policies and procedures.

And we look for opportunities to expand our farmers’ prospects and knowledge – we’ve collaborated with the National Honeybee Research Centre (NARC) to organise advanced training for 30 farmers on value-added products of the honeybee.

Our local staff have worked diligently for fourteen years to ensure that your mercy provides an efficient, ecological project with limitless potential that benefits all – the bees, the local market, the farmers and their families.

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Meet Shahid. Beekeeping expert and protector of your mercy

I joined Human Appeal in 2009.

As the Livelihood Programme Manager it’s my responsibility to empower families with the skills, tools and support for a sustainable livelihood and income, so that they become self- reliant and can improve their lives. My team and I are involved every step of the way, from identifying which people would benefit most from which project, to implementing the project and assessing the results.

To succeed at honeybee farming, quality training is very important. If farmers lack experience in bee management, their efforts will fail, and they might easily lose all their bees. Entire hives can be wiped out in a matter of hours if there is an outbreak of disease or pest attack. Training is essential to know how to respond if bees ever attack as their sting can be lethal. Our training ensures honeybee farmers succeed and achieve a profitable livelihood. Even years after the training, farmers can access support services from the trainer, including how to manage disease outbreak, insect attacks, honey extraction and extension of their honeybee hives.

Now, after more than 12 years of honeybee farming, District Bagh is famed for its honey. In fact the region has shaped itself into a cottage industry for honey production and equipment making. For start-up honeybee farms, all required materials can be obtained locally.

Honeybee farming has improved people's lives in remarkable ways. Families can finally own assets like vehicles; some are constructing or expanding their houses; and some are sending their children to colleges and universities. Before this intervention, none of that was possible. Through honeybee farming, some enterprising farmers have opened up consultancies in other parts of Kashmir for those interested in this kind of farming.

We’ve also joined with universities and the Honey Bee Research Institute (HBRI) to expand the project. While working with HBRI, farmers also trained to make by-products with bees. This includes in-demand cosmetic goods, candle-making and collecting royal jelly and pollen - which can all provide an additional source of income during off season periods for our farmers. Additionally, we are working with Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Agriculture University Multan to launch honeybee farming in District Tharparkar, Sindh, Pakistan. However, in Tharparkar, temperatures can get so hot (50oc) that wax melts, making it impossible for bees to survive in such extreme heat.

To ensure a successful launch of honeybee farming there, we are in the process of designing a hive that can maintain an optimal temperature, despite the heat.

We maintain the cost-effectiveness in a few ways. Firstly, we help people develop professional skills to participate in the local economy. Secondly, through our quality training programmes, we help farmers remain efficient and maximise their resources. And thirdly, because farmers sell their goods directly to the public, they are continuously striving to maintain healthy business reputations and satisfied customers. Moreover, the honeybee association monitors honey quality through training and customer feedback.

“Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you.” (Tirmidhi)

Source - Tirmidhi

Meet Shaukat. Your mercy gave him sweet success

My name is Shaukat Abbasi, and I live in Sinjar Bathara in District Bagh with my wife and seven children.

In order to earn a living and support my family, I went to Lahore in search of work and got a job at a local restaurant, but my income there was not sufficient. I could not provide for my children at that time. Even the house we lived in did not protect us from the rainwater or the snow in winter. If I had continued working in that restaurant, I would not have been able to get my children an education or even get them married. Life would have been very different and challenging compared to what we have now.

When I returned from Lahore, I met a guy named Rashid Gul, and he told me about honeybee farming and the training conducted by Human Appeal.

I received a three-day training course and I was taught the whole method of Honey Bee-keeping and its benefits. Before the training, I had never seen honeybee farming, nor did I know anything about it. After I started honeybee farming, my income grew exponentially, and I got my children an education. With the money from selling honey, I went on to learn the skill of plumbing and started working as a plumber alongside honeybee farming. My life got much better than before.

At this point, I have a total of eight hives from which I extract honey which produces around 60 kilograms. To date, I have earned around 2.5 million to 3 million rupees from honeybee farming.

The people who support Human Appeal in this project, I am very thankful to them. This initiative of Human Appeal is excellent and they should continue with this project as it increases income significantly and many people are enjoying doing this.

With their help, many people are benefiting from it and getting a source of livelihood. People are now more inclined towards honeybee farming and this has also increased their incomes.

Our admin fee enables us to make the most of your mercy

We are a high-performing international relief organisation operating in some of the most dangerous, volatile and remote places on earth. To get your mercy delivered to those most in need, we allocate a small portion of each donation towards the custodianship of your merciful donations. We are fully transparent about our admin fee of 6 pence for every £1 donated. We further invest 10p in the £1 to continue raising funds for the charity. Between 2019 and 2022, we grew our income by a huge 222% by raising funds through that small 10 pence. Finally, a full 84p goes straight to our projects in 27 countries, transforming and empowering the most vulnerable communities. A maximum of 12.5% of your Zakat goes to support our admin costs, which covers our monitoring of projects, protection of those we work with and the raising of more funds, helping to keep our projects safe, sustainable and offer the greatest impact. Efficiency and transparency are important hallmarks of how we manage to deliver your mercy and to always make the most of it. That’s why we are diligent in being fully transparent and accountable for every penny we receive from the thousands of generous donors like you.

Charity is a gift, offering endless mercy to those who give, as well as mercy to the vulnerable people who receive it. Our admin fee helps us to get your donation to where you intended it. That’s why we like to think of it as the stamp on the envelope of your mercy. Help us to continue making the most of your mercy and to really make your mercy count.

Thanks to your support every year we continue to invest in sustainable infrastructure to support some of the most vulnerable people in the world meet their most basic needs. Your mercy is a lifeline for the most vulnerable members of the Kashmir community living in hard-to-reach areas. Every year, your support enables us to help communities in Kashmir to lift themselves out of poverty with sustainable, future-changing projects. We are actively looking to expand in other remote areas thanks to your mercy.

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