The journey thus far
Established in 2012, Bricks was set up by Ric Foxley, the afore-mentioned mentioned New Zealander, (who had, for many years, worked for Aid Agencies such as World Vision and The Leprosy Mission). Its aim is to generate funding for individual people or projects that he had come across during his visits to projects in the Developing World.
Our initial project was in India, but over the past few years, our energy has been directed towards Amlaku Teshome, the young man in Ethiopia, referred to on the Home Page.
It has been an extraordinary journey, one which we would love to share with you, and one which we would love you to join, in order that we might enable Amlaku to fulfill the vision he has of dragging his poor rural community of some 70 families into the modern era.
Already, we have put him through an Ethiopian University, from which he graduated in June of 2013 with a degree in Plant Science – with great distinction! Not too bad for a boy with his background.
Initially (in 2014) we funded a water project in his village. Since then, a number of major developments have happened in Baregota Village, and now (October 2018) we can say that the journey from subsistence to sustainability is well under way.
Ric was able to visit Amlaku for 3 weeks in October 2015, and the impact of our support, along with the skills he had learned at university, was clear to see even at that early stage. Improved crops, a better diet, and, in September 2016, the arrival of a diesel powered grain mill, are all impacting in a hugely positive way on the lives of the villagers. Aided by small canals running from the river that bisects the village, most of the villagers are now growing vegetables, which they are able to sell in the market in Lalibela, some 8 kms away. This is a total new income source for them, and many families have built sturdy new homes from the profits gained from selling vegetables.
In May 2017, they planted new improved seed on soil that had had fertiliser applied to it for the first time ever. Because of funding constraints, we could only supply each farmer with the same amount of improved seed and fertiliser, irrespective of whether they farmed 2 ha or 14 ha. Ric spent a few days in the village in August 2017, and the difference between the improved seed/fertilised soil crops (6 weeks after planting) and the crops grown the traditional way was amazing - see the two photos below. These fields were planted on the same day. The harvest they achieved in October 2017 was double anything they had ever seen before. Good rains helped too!
In 2018, they have bought their own improved seed, funding this from the profits from the sale of the surplus crop from last year, while we have supplied $31,000.00 worth of fertiliser, enabling them to fertilise all of their fields. Again, aided by good rains, they are about to harvest a crop, the like of which they have never seen before. They all have bank accounts now, so are learning about saving money.
We have committed to funding fertiliser for next year as well. By then, hopefully, Amlaku will have introduced more organic forms of soil enrichment. My hope is that if they get another good season, they will have built up sufficient resources so as to no longer need our support from the end of 2019.The people of Baregota Village are seeing a way forward after being stuck in a poverty trap for generations, a way that is both sustainable and appropriate for their situation.
Our role here has been to provide some of the building blocks to enable them to move forward. Without our support, there would simply be no way they could ever have escaped from the grinding poverty in which they have lived for so many years.
So, check out the rest of this site, and see what Amlaku and his community are doing, see too how you might be able to join with us in this extraordinary project. Real ‘hand up not hand out’ stuff, that is making an actual difference to the lives of actual people.
Start by clicking on the audiovisual link( below) to see photos taken by Ric during his visit in October 2015. Make sure your sound is switched on. Please also read Amlaku's Story and the Letter From Amlaku, or click on the Ethiopian Odyssey box on the right hand side of this page for more photos from Ric's trip.