Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Plan Bee Honey Business Group Completion Report

Empowering Refugee Women in Houston through Honey Bee Farming

The overall goal of the project was to replicated in Houston Hashoo Foundation ’s globally recognized Women Empowering through Honey Bee Farming Project “Plan Bee” to empower 5 refugee women in beekeeping to enable them earn a secondary income through the sale of honey.

To achieve this goal, Hashoo Foundation USA (HF USA) partnered with the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services refugee settlement, Chapelwood Foundation, Neighborhood Centers Seed for Change, Houston students, and community organizations. Click the report below to see how we achieved our goal...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

180,156 Rotary Books Distributed in Pakistan by Hashoo Foundation and Rotary Islamabad Margalla

Hashoo Foundation USA Executive Director Cristal Montañéz Baylor presented an update on the distribution of the books donated by Rotary Books of the World and The Second Wind Foundation at the Rotary Books For the World IV Booklegger Summit in League City on January 10-11, 2015.
Rotarians Governors from various Districts in the US and Governors from Asia and Africa attended this important Summit.

During her presentation 'Update Rotary Books For the World Distribution in Pakistan' Cristal informed the audience how the Hashoo Foundation and Rotary Club Islamabad Margalla and Rawalpindi Rotary Club team successfully distributed 180,156 books to 186 educational institutions across Pakistan between  2011 and 2014. "Our partnership with Rotary is helping to strengthen vulnerable communities and promote literacy and education for a more tolerant and inclusive society in Pakistan. Together we are making a difference," she concluded.


IV Booklegger Summit - Update Rotary Books for the World Distribution in Pakistan by Hashoo Foundation from Hashoo Foundation USA



Jahangir Moghul and Mrs. Moghul District Governor 2015-2016 Karachi,  David and Margie Grant Rotary Botswana Northen South Africa, Sajid Pervaiz Bhatti District Governor Lahore 2015-2016, Cristal Montañéz Baylor Hashoo Foundation USA, Pir Ebrahim 2013-2014 District Governor Karachi, Charlie Buscemi Rotary District 5890, PDG Charlie Clements Chair Booklegger Summit and President The Second Wind Foundation, Tommie Buscemi Interact 5890


Jahangir Moghul and Mrs. Moghul District Governor 2015-2016 Karachi, Sajid Pervaiz Bhatti District Governor 2015-2016 Lahore, Pir Ebrahim 2013-2014 District Governor Karachi, Cristal Montañéz Baylor Hashoo Foundation USA and Arif Salim Polio Plus Ambassador 5890 Rotary International

Cristal Montañéz Baylor Hashoo Foundation USA, Jahangir Moghul District Governor 2015-2016 Karachi, Mike McGovern VPTRF/IPPC Rotary Foundation and Sajid Pervaiz Bhatti District Governor 2015-2016 Lahore

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Day in the Life of Refugee Women Beekeepers


A Fascinating Experience

On December 16, 2014, Elena Penso and Haniya Mansoor, Hashoo Foundation USA volunteers, and Cristal Montañéz Hashoo Foundation USA Executive Director,  joined the refugee women beekeepers in their regular journey to harvest the honey at Peter’s Farm, located in Fort Bend County in Guy, Texas.

Upon arrival, we met with Narayan Dhurali, Training & Production Coordinator for the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, and refugee beekeepers, Pabitra, Ambika, Chandra, Mom and Khina.
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The beekeepers are part of the Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group. This pilot project is a partnership between the Hashoo Foundation USA and the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services refugee settlement agency.

Good protective clothing gives beginner beekeepers confidence. Narayan and two of the beekeepers got suited with the protective bee-suit, gloves and head protector.


  Refugee Women Beekeepers

Tim, Peter's Farm foreman, and Cristal checked the bee smoker used to calm the honey bees. The beekeeper puffs a little smoke near the entrance of the beehive before it is opened, and gently smokes the bees to move them from one part of the beehive to another.

When a colony is ready for harvesting the bees become aggressive in guarding the beehive, and can sting at the slightest provocation. The presence of worker bees outside the beehive in large numbers. Tim helps the beekeepers inspect their apiary regularly to know when the colonies are ready for harvesting. 

Refugee Women Beekeepers Refugee Women Beekeepers

The equipment is ready, Elena, Haniya and Cristal wrapped their scarfs around our head and shoulders as protection from the bees. Now, we are ready to go. We are all aboard the cart and Tim is transporting us the beehives site. 


Untitled Untitled

And, we began our journey to the beehives site.


While Narayan, the beekeepers and Cristal walked toward the beehives, Elena, Haniya and Tim decided to watch the action from the cart away from the beehives.

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Two of our twenty beehives are ready for harvesting.

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Honey yield fluctuates from one year to another and varies between colonies. SE Texas has a much longer “honey run” season where honey production yields are higher and favorable weather conditions will ensure two crops per year.



Tim brings two beehives inside the trailer house to get them ready for the wax uncapping and honey extraction.  Chandra distributes the frames full of honey to Pabitra, Ambika, Mom and Khina.


Pabitra, Ambika, Chandra, Mom and Khina proudly hold the beehives frames before initiating the honey extraction.

Refugee Women Beekeepers

Beeswax is a product of the honey bee. It is produced from the bee's own body during the warm period of the day. The bee uses wax to build the comb cells in which its brood is reared, and also the cells in which honey and pollen are stored. Honey bees preserve the honey by capping it in wax cells. To extract the honey, the tops of the cells, or caps, need to be removed. About 5 to 7 pounds of honey are consumed by bees to produce 1 pound of beeswax.




Honey is the sweet, viscous juice usually collected in the largest quantities from the beehive. It is found in cells of the honey bee comb. Matured (ripe) honey is usually found in sealed combs and can be kept indefinitely; unsealed honey is not matured and therefore ferments shortly after it is harvested. 

Refugee Women Beekeepers Refugee Women Beekeepers

Most frames have honey on both sides, so each side needs to be uncapped. 


The color and flavor of honey differs depending on the nectar source (the blossoms) visited by the honey bees. In fact, there are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States, each originating from a different floral source. 

Refugee Women Beekeepers Refugee Women Beekeepers

Honey color ranges from nearly colorless to dark brown, and its flavor varies from delectably mild to distinctively bold, depending on where the honey bees buzzed. In SE Texas the nectar from rag weeds flowers and golden rod flowers makes the honey darker. As a general rule, light-colored honey is milder in taste and dark-colored honey is stronger.


 

We witnessed firsthand the fascinating honey harvesting process, and waited patiently to see the flow of our delicious Plan Bee from the extractor spout.

                   Refugee Women Beekeepers

We extracted 84 lbs of Plan Bee honey out of the frames from four of the beehives ready for harvesting.

Refugee Women Beekeepers

After the extraction, Narayan and Cristal announced the women the great news that every drop of the first 200 lbs of Plan Bee honey produced was sold: 100 lbs to Marathon Oil Company for Christmas gifts (120 9 oz jars); and 100 lbs in 9 oz and 16 oz jars to individuals for gifts. We encouraged the beekeepers to invest 30% of their earning back into the growth of their honey producing business by acquiring more beehives to increase their production.

Plan Bee honey is available in 9 oz jars and 16 oz jars.

Plan Bee Honey_two sizes



Empowering women with the help of honey bees...

The Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group pilot project is providing refugee women with the opportunity to develop honey micro-enterprises that enable them generate a secondary income through the sale of honey and increase their economic independence.

We can agree that beekeeping is a very important skill. Here are some facts about bees I thought you may enjoy.
  • A hive can consist of about 100,000 bees.
  • The queen is the sole female in the hive with fully developed organs, making her the only bee in the hive that can lay eggs.
  • A honey bee has to travel over 55,000 miles and visits approx. 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey.
  • Honey bees fly about 10 miles per hour.
  • Honeybee colonies have unique odors that are checked at the door, like ID cards, so the guard bees can recognize the entering bees and give them permission to enter.
  • 

About 5 to 7 pounds of honey are consumed by bees to produce 1 pound of beeswax.


  • Honey bees will usually travel approximately 3 miles from their hive to gather nectar and pollen.
  • A honey bee flaps its wings about 11,400 times per minute.
  • The “buzz” that you hear is the bee’s way of letting you know that it is agitated.
  • Honey bees are the only kind of bees that die after they sting a person.
  • Honey bees are vegetarian when they forage for nectar and pollen, but can eat their own brood when stressed.
  • Honey helps heal and combats infections.
  • Honey does not go bad – EVER!
Bees follow their honey...

             


Background 

Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group
Hashoo Foundation USA is replicating in Houston its globally recognized Women Empowering through Honey Bee Farming Project - “Plan Bee”- in partnership with the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services refugee settlement. Both organizations are working together to build the capacity of five refugee women by training them in honey bee farming and organizing them under the Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group. 

Houston students helped raised the funds though their Culture Shock Charity Show for Plan Bee, Chapelwood Foundation and Neighborhood Centers Seed for Change granted small grants to help make this small enterprise development project a success. The funds were invested in the equipment (beehives, production kits and extractor) needed for the refugee women to kick-start their micro-enterprises. Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group main objective is to enable the new refuggee women beekeepers earn a secondary income through the sale of honey.

“Plan Bee” honey is extracted from wild flowers in Guy, Texas. This delicious honey is 100 percent pure and natural.

As described on the Executive Summary, this pilot project has two objectives:

I- Local Objective: Establish a Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group in partnership with the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services refugee settlement in Houston to empower 5 refugee women through honey bee farming. 


- This post summarizes the student's activities to make this initiative possible
Thank you Culture Shock Charity Show Team for Supporting Plan Bee!!


II- International Objective:
 Empower 20 new women through the Plan Bee Culture Shock Charity Show 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday and a Very Happy New Year!!




Hashoo Foundation is committed to enable and empower communities to be independent by facilitating equitable access to opportunities. 

Hashoo Foundation USA (HF USA) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas. HF USA works locally to raise awareness, build partnerships with other non-profit and professional organizations, private sector and concerned individuals to promote the Hashoo Foundation’s programs in Pakistan and help increase its fundraising capacity. 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Plan Bee Honey Makes a Great Christmas Gift

Very excited to share with all of you the purchase of the first production of Plan Bee honey produced by refugee women was from Marathon Oil Company for their Christmas gifts!!!


I was very honored to be a guest at the Marathon Oil Community Partners Reception when our Plan Bee honey was presented as a gift to 50 Non-profit organizations and other corporate partners. What an amazing way to help these refugee women beekeepers.


I was proud to represent the Hashoo Foundation USA and these women from the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services who worked very hard to produced this delicious honey.

Women Empowerment through Honey Bee Farming Brochure


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Introducing “Plan Bee” Honey Produced by Refugee Women in Houston


Women Empowering through Honey Bee Farming Project "Plan Bee" in Houston

Hashoo Foundation USA is replicating in Houston its globally recognized Women Empowering through Honey Bee Farming Project - “Plan Bee”- in partnership with the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services refugee settlement. Both organizations are working together to build the capacity of 5 refugee women by training them in honey bee farming and organizing them under the Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group. Houston students helped raised the funds to provide the beehives, extractor, and production kits the refugee women needed to kick-start micro-enterprises to enable them earn a secondary income through the sale of honey. “Plan Bee” honey is extracted from wild flowers in Gay, Texas. This delicious honey is 100 percent pure and natural.


The refugee beekeepers conforming the Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group have been blessed with favorable weather conditions and abundant honey production yields during their first honey harvest. While, the beekeepers continue to extract honey at the farm in Gay, Texas, Hashoo Foundation USA received the first order for Plan Bee honey. The preparations to fill this order are under way…


Cristal Montanez, Executive Director Hashoo Foundation USA, and Elena Penso, Marketing Consultant, celebrating this special moment as they place the Plan Bee labels on the jars filled with delicious honey.


Angelik (refugee from Congo) , Elena Penso (Marketing Consultant Hashoo Foundation USA) and Narayan Dhurali (Training & Production Coordinator Alliance for Multicultural Community Services) having fun as they cover the lids of the Plan Bee honey jars with beautiful bee design fabric and tie a bow to make the product very attractive...


Introducing “Plan Bee” honey produced by refugee women under the Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group pilot model, a partnership between Hashoo Foundation USA and the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services.


Angelik stands very proud by her new product: “Plan Bee” honey.



Now, we are ready to deliver our first order of “Plan Bee” honey…


Hashoo Foundation USA and the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services helped build the capacity of the refugee women by training them in honey bee farming, organizing the women under the Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group pilot model providing the beehives, extractor, and production kits needed to kick-start their honey micro-enterprise, developing the "Plan Bee" honey brand and linking the women to available markets.  It was team work and hard work, but it was worth every single minute.

The new "Plan Bee Houston Honey Business Group" enables the refugee women earn a secondary income to help improve their quality of life and increase their honey producing micro-enterprise.

We hope you love our "Plan Bee" honey as much as we do!!


Many thanks to our wonderful partners Chapelwood Foundation and Neighborhood Centers Seeds for Change, and our amazing team of students for making this project possible. Thanks to your trust and support, we are celebrating the achievement of this great milestone!! 
  • Klein Forest High School Pakistani-Indian Student Association (PISA) 
  • Xavier Educational Academy 
  • Lee High School Interact Club & ROTC 
  • Clements High School Interact 
  • Sharpstown International School Capstone International Program 
  • Rotaract Galleria 
  • And to all the partners and friends who made this project a reality for the new beekeepers: 
  • Talento Bilingue of Houston 
  • Mayor's Office of Education Initiatives & Mayor’s Volunteer Initiatives Program 
  • Citizenship Month 
  • Chapelwood Foundation 
  • Seeds For Change 
  • Community College International Program (CCIP) 
  • Powerful Women International 
Together, we are empowering refugee women through honey bee farming. We are changing lives!

Challenges Affecting a Changing Society, Women, Poverty and Sustainable Enterprises

Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

Hashoo Foundation is turning some of the challenges that affect a changing society into opportunities by promoting practical solutions to empower women and expanding employment opportunities to enable them generate a stable source of income through the sale of high-quality honey. 

Hashoo Foundation's Women Empowerment through Honey Bee Farming project 
"Plan Bee" is contributing to the following United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): 

- Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
- Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Huger
- Achieve Universal Primary Education


Together we are making a difference, we are changing lives...