Out of 33 million people living in Uganda, 1 million are orphans under 18 years of age. For a poor country like Uganda, it is impossible to support such a large number of orphans. Many orphans live in orphanages, but just as often they end up on the streets. In orphanages they have little chance of an education, or a future job. The kids on the street are even worse off. As in any country, families of the orphans would like to adopt them - if there were enough money. Since 2003, SYPO gives pregnant Fresian cows to women who are willing to adopt an orphan, but are not financially capable of doing so. The women receive the cow on the condition that they build a good stable, and that the first born calf is donated to another family. Meanwhile, SYPO has enabled the local Ugandan aid organization Pat the Child to start a small yogurt factory. The yogurt factory buys the milk the cows give at market prices, so that the women get a constant income and are able to raise the orphan. The factory makes yogurt from the milk, packages it and sells it throughout the region, thus creating profit from which Pat the Child can start new projects. In this way, the orphans are raised in their own village, in a normal family environment, preventing them from becoming socially alienated. The factory provides employment and creates commerce in a remote area. This project grows independently because new calves are given to new families, and because the factory makes profit for the aid organization.
The Yogurt Project was the first project under SYPO, originally founded in 2003. With younger projects we stay close to the philosophy of the yoghurt project: we rely on the inherent strength of the local population, and on the structural effect of commercial growth.
In the project, SYPO monitors what happens with donated money and helps with potential improvements, but the daily management is entirely in the hands of Ugandans. We believe that raising orphans in as normal a family situation as possible is very important. The cows are of Fresian (for milk) and Ugandan (for disease resistance) breed, and are born and bred in Uganda. The women all get a course in cow farming, and are required to build a good stable. Together, the women have set up a cooperative in order to buy more efficient medication and veterinarian care.
The factory now operates completely independently. Packages of yogurt are sold every day by several employees throughout the district. Since 2008 the factory has run independently, and at a profit. This profit is spent in various projects of Pat the Child which themselves do not generate structural income. In this way, one project supports other projects. We consider it important that the factory competes in a fair way with other factories in the area. The financing of the project (and other projects SYPO) is designed so that if it were a purely commercial venture, it would still be a healthy company. In this way we prevent that other factories go bankrupt just because the Pat the Child factory was established with a grant from the Netherlands and can therefore produce at lower costs.