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  We are here: News- Bee Buzz | DISABLED but unhindered to do BEEKEEPING: a tale of Care-Co (Rodrigues), Mauritius

Care-Co (Rodrigues) is a charitable Company (limited by guarantee) which runs a Rehabilitation and Productions workshop in Rodrigues Island in the Indian Ocean (part of the Republic of Mauritius). We employ a sizeable number of people with disabilities and at the present there are 18 people with disabilities who are on full time employment.


At Care-Co Rodrigues, we are always on the lookout for income generating activities for the disabled. The Island of Rodrigues which is 350 miles to the North-east of Mauritius (which is the nearest land) and has a huge unemployment problem anyway. However through our beekeeping department we are making it possible for people with disabilities to fend for themselves.

With the help of overseas beekeepers and consultants we set up our own model teaching apiaries and a specially planned unit where the honey is processed, bottled and then marketed.

All this is done by a team of 8 or so people with disabilities. Some are hearing impaired some physically or mentally 'challenged'.

We train the young people from our learning centre and set them up with micro financing to get them started with a couple of hives and then arrange to buy the honey and wax, and market it.

We got a big boost when very early on. Our Honey was entered into the competition at the National Honey Show in the UK and won a first prize in 2009. This got media coverage and is mentioned in many guide books for travelers who come to Rodrigues and this leads them in our direction. Sales of our honey are very good in our two shops on the island - we also sell to clients in Mauritius. The problem is that demand outstrips supply. sometimes Bear in mind that Rodrigues is a small island (8 miles by 4 miles) and as the surface area is small so the area available for the bees to forage is also limited.

We now have about 12 beekeepers with disabilities in our network, and we are training more. However, due to one reason or the other some drop out after a disappointment with their beekeeping. We all get our set-backs, mainly caused through lack of experience. However we always provide back up and help if needed.

If they follow our advice and take advantage of our resources they can do very well and earn income from their beekeeping activities.

They can sell their honey and wax to us at an agreed price- or they can sell their own honey themselves.

We use Langstroth 10 frame brood boxes and supers, and have queen excluders fitted.

In our wood workshop another group of people with disabilities make bee hives to exact professional dimensions and standards- we also make smokers and veils.

Our 'Miel la Caz from Rodrigues is highly prized and sought after by visitors.

We are certainly not the biggest in the world, neither do we aim to be, but our modest contribution to the disabled and the economy of Rodrigues gives us the satisfaction that we are doing a worthwhile job.

Compiled by Robert Grace Kisenyi,


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