Church donates milk sheep to promote self-reliance among refugees in Jordan

Using the milk, families in Jordan can make dairy products and use the profits to purchase their own sheep and goats for a sustainable future

In an effort to provide sustainable, perpetual income to families in Jordan, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated over 100 milk sheep to a family-run non-profit organization in the country, said a Church Middle East Newsroom release on May 19.

As part of an ongoing partnership, the Church donated 150 sheep to Al Jahuth, a non-profit charity in Madaba, Jordan, founded by Mansour Oklah Al Hashem that continues to operate under his children, Sana’a Al Hashem and Abdalmote Al Hashem. Al Jahuth volunteers — who work full-time jobs to support their own families — milk the sheep by hand twice a day and have provided half of it so far to three families for three months while teaching them how to make butter, yogurt, cheese and jameed, a Jordanian specialty, to sell.

The plan is to have the families, after the three months, use the money they earn to purchase sheep or goats to provide themselves with a reliable, perpetual income. Meanwhile, the multiplying sheep provide perpetual income for Al Jahuth, allowing them support more families in the future and reach their goal of becoming a sustainable, independent organization. Since receiving the sheep nine months ago, the fold has grown to 220 from the original 150; it is expected to reach nearly 600 within the next five years.

A little girl holds a bag containing blankets.
A girl in Jordan picks up a bag of blankets purchased by the charity Al Jahuth in December 2023 using funds donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The warm items will help her and her family, who live in a tent, survive winters. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Many of the families Al Jahuth assists are refugees.

“Many refugee families raised sheep or goats before being driven from their homes in Syria,” Sana’a Al Hashem said. “This is something they know how to do well. For others, it is a new venture, an opportunity to learn new skills and stand independently.” In both cases, she said, “Having a milk goat makes a huge difference to these families to be able to provide better for themselves.”

The Church also donated nine months’ worth of feed for the sheep and some money for a serviceable truck.

The latest collaboration between the Church and Al Jahuth was in December 2023 when the Church donated money for Al Jahuth to purchase blankets, heaters and coats for children among 150 families living in tents who would otherwise struggle to survive the winter. Sana’a Al Hashem learned the coat sizes of each of the children to ensure their jackets would fit.

Syrian refugee Dohad Mohamad Alsholbi looks over his beehives in Madaba, Jordan, October 2021. | Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The milk sheep donation is just one way the Church and Al Jahuth have helped build self-reliance among refugee families in Jordan. In 2022, the Church News reported on an effort that began in 2019 that provided goats to 135 households with 931 children and beehives to 105 households with 766 children. Syrian refugee Dohad Mohamad Alsholbi sold enough honey to move his family into a house and send his children to school.

“I am proud to have an income, to have a second chance in life with the bees,” he told Middle East Newsroom at the time. “I believe in the Lord, that He is providing for my children. He is helping me, and I have to keep going in order to continue to reach success.”

Latter-day Saint Charities also helped Palestinian refugees living in Jordan in 2021 with a donation of medical equipment to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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