OVER 200 children in an orphanage in Romania will “benefit hugely” from a partnership between Limerick based aid organisation Bóthar and Shelton Abbey Prison in Wicklow.
The collaboration between the Limerick aid organisation and the open, low security prison will see 20 two-year old, in-calf heifers airlifted to the Timisoara orphanage later this month.
The herd of Freisans are worth over €35,000 and were donated by farmers around Ireland and raised by the prisoners at the 40 acre prison. Bóthar will airlift the animals to Romania on October 28.
Bóthar Chief Executive David Moloney explained how the collaboration between the charity and the prison began.
“It came about when the farm manager at Shelton Abbey Prison was having his breakfast one morning and was reading the back of his Kellogs box about a Bóthar promotion,” explained Mr Moloney.
“He wondered if there was something Shelton Abbey could do in collaboration with us. We visited them and they have a fine example of a farm and we started rearing goats there initially - that is about four years ago now,” he explained.
“The goats project worked so well that we than started rearing heifers and sending them to Africa or Eastern Europe or other developing countries,” he added.
Bóthar have livestock projects in 35 developing countries but this will be the first time they have airlifted animals to a Romanian orphanage.
“This is our first time branching into the orphanages, but the need is so great over there and we have identified this particular orphanage that already keep livestock, so we decided to send the heifers over,” explained Mr Moloney.
He explained that, in time, the heifers and their offspring will provide food and income for the orphanage, enabling them to achieve self-sufficiency in terms of dairy requirements almost year round.
“The potential for success is huge,” he added.
The heifers will produce more than twice the amount of milk as their Romanian counterparts, and Dr Ovidiu Spinu of the Timisoara orphanage expressed his delight at the donation.
“We will obviously retain a lot of the produce for our own use at the orphanage but some dairy produce will be sold to local markets. In time this orphanage will become one of Romania’s best quality farms,” he said.
David Moloney paid tribute to Shelton Abbey Prison and the inmates who worked to rear the cattle, as well as the many farmers around the country who donated the calves to the project.