Groep Bouwen in the world
GROEP BOUWEN IN LIER
Groep Bouwen is still working from its home base of Lier, a romantic city of 30,000 inhabitants, located on the banks of the Nete. Traditionally, the Lierenaars (i.e. those who live in Lier) are called "sheep´s heads".
According to legend, the sheep´s heads moniker developed back in the 14th century. Jan II, the Duke of Brabant and Limburg, wished to thank the Lierenaars for their support in the battle against the Mechelaars (i.e. those living in nearby Mechelen). The city was given a choice between two rewards: either a university or a cattle market.
The Lierenaars unhesitatingly went for the staple right on livestock – a choice that certainly didn’t do Lier any harm, because per region only a single city was granted such a right. The cattle market - which until then had been established in Wespelaar – was promptly moved at the Duke´s order to Lier. Duke Jan supposedly observed all of this and sighed: "O, those sheep´s heads".
The university, the reward that Lier passed on, ultimately went to Leuven - thereby giving the latter, in 1425, the very first university in the Low Countries.
GROEP BOUWEN IN THE WORLD
Solid International is a Belgian family development organisation that wishes to improve the living conditions of the population in Peru, and in particular in one of the poorest regions of the Andes: Ayacucho. Solid does this by setting up projects where ultimately financial autonomy can be guaranteed to this farming population. Solid has been doing this for many years now, having for example created a knitting plant and a flower farm. A modern dairy farm was also built in order to support the local population. The milk that is produced is used to make several types of cheese, for example.
Nevertheless, the cheese factory itself is located a half hour´s drive from the farm, in a building rented by the community. They do not own the building themselves, and there is now a plan to build their own cheese factory right next to the farm. This would not only reduce costs, but also improve the hygienic conditions in which the cheese can be made.
Unfortunately, there were no funds to pay for the construction and equipment of the cheese factory. Groep Bouwen has therefore committed itself to assuming responsibility for this investment. Groep Bouwen is doing so because its commitment will be highly visible and very direct: within two years, the local Andean farmers will be making their cheeses in ´our´ little cheese factory.
In order to further strengthen this direct commitment, Cedric Bouwen has agreed to go and supervise the construction of the integrated farm on site. Mid april 2017, Cedric departed for an initial period of 6 months in Peru, from which he will be giving weekly updates on the activities that will be posted on the Groep Bouwen website.
You can follow him here: www.engperuayacucho.wordpress.com