In 2015 Ikhlas, a young and motivated agricultural engineer, graduated from Mu’tah University in Jordan. She was unsure what to do next and whether she had a future in her homeland - until she heard about a local cheese project started by an Italian priest named Fr. Mario.

Fr. Mario believed that Italian-quality cheese could be made in Jordan using local sheep and dairy milk, which would really benefit the local economy and employ local women. Looking for a project manager, he got in touch with Ikhlas, who loved the idea and came on board.

Fast forward to 2018. Ikhlas and the team were trying a variety of different recipes to create an Italian-quality pecorino cheese. Their project was close to launching - but needed help with the start-up costs.

From past experience, Fr. Mario knew who might be able to help… He contacted Friends of the Holy Land! Thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide Ikhlas and her team with funding for training, the purchase of equipment for their factory and salaries of six local women.

Our investment helped the initiative to flourish. The factory now covers its own costs, employs 14 local women who needed an income, and has led to the creation of a very successful pizza and pasta restaurant in nearby Amman. More employment for locals!

Here’s Ikhlas to explain more about cheese making and the project’s effects on her life:

Expanding the Flock

The cheese project is based in the village of Ader, about two hours’ drive south of Amman. They began by buying milk from farms, but as production increased, decided to buy their own flock of sheep and employ local shepherds to tend them.

As their reputation has grown, the demand for their cheese has increased which means that more sheep’s milk is needed that can currently be produced from their own flock. To meet the demand, they have bought extra milk from local farmers. But the cost is higher and the quality inconsistent.

This is where you come in! We are looking for funding to help their team purchase 50 additional sheep for their flock. This will allow them to ensure quality milk is being used in the production of the cheese and will keep the overall costs lower. Sheep are not cheap though! To expand their flock, it will cost the team roughly £160 per sheep.

Could you help by purchasing a sheep for their flock? To get involved, click here and add a note to say your donation is for ‘Jordanian flock of sheep’.