What a Year!
Looking back at what was an incredibly challenging year for everyone we are thankful for all we accomplished. We could not have done it without you!
Stop the Smoke 2020
Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai sponsored the Biochar program in Mae Chaem to support farmers making biochar rather than open field burning of crop waste; and as a result:
- Unemployed villagers made biochar and earned $10,000 (298,589 Baht) in new income in two months;
- Prevented 313 kg of PM2.5 particles from polluting the air;
- Averted the emission of 54,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (methane and NOx);
- Sequestered 150 tonnes of CO2 and
- Fertilized hundreds of intensively planted kitchen gardens that produced tonnes of nutritious, organic vegetables.
Plans for 2021
While we will continue in 2021 to work towards expanding our farmer base of biochar producers, we are also taking steps to reduce the amount of corn waste on a bigger scale.
The Restore the Earth project takes on another area of environmental destruction, reforesting steep hillsides with water saving, income producing trees. High demand for corn led to deforestation and loss of watershed. The corn harvests resulted in massive increases in open field burning, creating GHGs and heavy smoke with PM2.5 particles.
- Reduce the area planted with corn, which results in less GHGs and PM2.5 emitted through crop waste burning while at the same time:
- Reforesting barren slopes
- Stop soil erosion
- Recreate watersheds
- Restore soil
- Rebuilding habitats, bringing back biodiversity
- Help farmers diversity their crops and sources of income
- Improving their quality of life through clean air and soils
- Increase farm incomes
Malawi and Kenya
Through Warm Heart Malawai and Kenya, led by Sister Miriam Paulette, biochar is taking off with small-holder farmers. Our network of trainers has continued to grow rapidly and extends through several districts in Malawi and Kenya! Over 3,000 farmers have been trained and are making and using biochar to enrich their soils and improve their crops. Training is being provided at:
- College of Medical and Health Sciences
- Zomba Prison Inmate Gardening Program
- Over 70 Rural villages throughout Kenya and Malawi
Malawi Special Project
Sister Miriam Paulette, who heads our Malawi Biochar Project came to us with a request to help her raise money to buy two sewing machines so they could provide the community with facemasks to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in her community. You stepped up and helped fund this program.
Sister Miriam was also hoping to raise enough money to buy an incubator to help bring new food sources to her hungry community. She thought that would take a miracle. Guess what, she received her miracle with full funding!
Children’s Empowerment Program
Getting the children back and forth to school has always been a challenge. With so many children we needed to make several trips each morning and afternoon to get them all to school. When our red truck died, we turned to you for your help.
We are so appreciative of all the generous hearts that donated to our School Bus fund. We raised the money needed and have found the perfect bus! We can now carry all the children to school safely in one trip!
2020 was a year of obstacles to be overcome, but we did succeed in our higher education goals. With your enduring support, we had a total of 21 students studying at high schools and universities.
We started out looking forward to five of our young women graduating from vocational colleges and universities. We were able to attend the celebration for the graduation for three of them at the end of February, before the first lockdown. All five formally graduated by June and have found jobs to support themselves while they wait for the pandemic to ease and the economy to slink back.
Luckily the school year finished in March, so our four younger graduates from middle school were able to prepare for high school. Two went to our District High School and two got scholarships to go to Vocational college in Chiang Mai, studying to be electricians
Planning for University
Our three high school seniors are applying to university in nursing, teaching, and sports education.
Thanks to you, their dreams are becoming reality. Together we are nurturing the future leaders of our communities.
Core Competency Skills
Warm Heart is making progress with our development of a community-based computer learning center that combines online with hands-on job training for disadvantaged rural youth in North Thailand.
We have completed local business surveys to identify core customer service and soft skills to include in our training.
High drop-out rates leave rural youth vulnerable to trafficking for jobs outside their rural agricultural communities.
With core competencies in customer service, English, computers, and hospitality, students will meet the entry-level requirements of major employers as they recover from the COVID19 lockdown.
Young Smart Farmers
Our children’s vegetable gardens continue to be a source of great pride. The children are learning the valuable skill of producing food through sustainable farming practices.
With rainy season it was time to plant the gardens and the initial crops harvested.
There were lots of peppers and cucumbers and some of the fruit trees were bearing rose apples, “custard apples”, longan and lemons and limes. The mangoes were eaten green before the children had climbed down the trees from picking them!
Safety Swim Classes
Drowning is the #1 killer of children in Thailand. Warm Heart has partnered with the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) to teach the program they developed over the past four year at public schools in Chiang Mai. 4th grade is the target age to train students to swim and water safety.
Through generous grants from the Australian Embassy’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) and the British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy (BCTFN), we trained 296 students from 10 Phrao elementary schools in 2019 and 2020. CMIRC and BCTFN have committed to continue with the Phrao 4th graders in the next school year.
Microenterprise Fashion Accessories
Our Microenterprise program was also hit by the pandemic. The hotels and boutiques where we sell in Chiang Mai closed. As flights were grounded, we had to work around shipping restrictions. Luckily, we had some stock in the US and one of our volunteers carried some orders to ship. Our new Japanese menswear customer accepted delivery on a beautiful collection of scarves, braving the pandemic shutdowns in retail. Our international team (Josephine from Spain and Tangmo from Switzerland, sourced materials and coordinated with our staff on the ground in Phrao to develop a new line of products, face masks with imprinted logos.
Working with Sprott School of Business in Canada we were able to produce and deliver our first special order for the year end. You can read the article Sprott published about this collaboration below in our Media Coverage section!
Working with Sprott School of Business in Canada we were able to produce and deliver our first special order. You can read the article Sprott published about this collaboration below in our Media Coverage section!
During the height of the lockdown in Phrao we had to be careful how we stayed in contact with our elderly clients. Networks with neighbors were developed to help stay in contact.
There is such a need in the community for Elder Care. In 2021 we will be looking at ways we can sustainably expand our elder care program. Watch for announcements and progress in this area.
Volunteer shortage – Art contest
Our volunteer force was severely impacted by the Pandemic, which left us with a skeleton crew for most of the year. One of the highlights volunteers were able to accomplish with the children was to organize a new art contest. The children love participating in the contests, and they blew us away with all of their creativity. Visit our Art Contests page to see all of their inspiring work in the “Peace Now” art competition
Warm Heart Board of Directors
In April of 2020 elections were held, we now have a new President and Vice-President. Evelind and Michael are working closely with our newly elected Warm Heart Board of Directors President Dana Brown and Vice President Jason Highberger. Together they are developing plans that will help Warm Heart grow stronger and move towards sustainability in 2021 and beyond.
Warm Heart gained 4 Corporate Sponsors in 2020, and we are extremely grateful for their support. Shangri-La and Kad Kokoa support our Environmental projects, while World Centric and Technomix support our Higher Education program.
We thank them for their support, and encourage other corporations to join us. We have possible sponsorship available in many areas, including Elder Care, Children’s Homes, Biochar Market, Operating Expenses.
Kad Kokoa produces a special chrysanthemum and dark chocolate candy bar as a benefit for Warm Heart Foundation. Indulge your tastebuds while supporting Warm Heart!
Media Coverage 2020
Warm Heart received some great media coverage in 2020.
Staff at Citylife wrote a very comprehensive article about Warm Heart. We appreciate their support.
Great.com talks with
Warm Heart was invited to participate in a podcast with “Great.com talks with”. In the podcast Spirit Rosenberg interviewed Board President Dana Brown and Founder Michael Shafer about Warm Heart Worldwide’s biochar projects. They discuss training local farmers in Northern Thailand, Malawi and Kenya to make biochar instead of burning crops.
Interesting topic. Did you know that in developing economies, people raise 10 billion tonnes of food annually and generate 20 billion tonnes of crop waste in their fields in the process?
Burning crops generates huge amounts of climate gases, including, PM2.5, one of the most dire particulates for human health. It’s no wonder that is so hard to breathe in many places at certain times of the year!
By making biochar, farmers themselves have an impact on climate change and the health and wellbeing of their communities. Biochar is a truly versatile product as well, which can be used for cooking, to increase crop yields and to remove harmful waste and bad smells. There are all sorts of opportunities for farmers to improve their lives and turn their biochar into an entrepreneurial venture. Learn more about the exciting work we are doing in this area: https://warmheartworldwide.org/biochar-training/
Sprott School of Business
Sprott School of Business published a great story about the support given to Warm Heart’s Fashion Accessories project through their special order of Sprott Logo face masks. This has opened a new market for Fashion Accessories, and we are looking forward to working with new clients wanting logo designed face masks. Contact us for more information.
Conscious Carma is a new platform to applaud Corporates, Individuals, Societies and Governments who are taking conscious initiatives towards a sustainable and equal world.
We were very happy they chose the Shangri-La/Warm Heart project for their kick-off edition of their online magazine.