Sunshine Update #1 – Our Family of Sunshine Organizations

Posted by Donald Larson on

Thank you for your interest and encouragement these last 13 years of living and working full time in Mozambique.  Over the next 7 days, we will provide an update each day on a different facet of our work.  We hope you enjoy reading each update and seeing the progress being made here in Mozambique, Africa.  We are helping thousands.  With your continued support, we aim to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands.

The Sunshine Approach™ is a comprehensive program using a business model to bring lasting economic transformation to the poorest of people in the poorest of countries. Mozambique is its first target.

The Sunshine Approach has three pillars…the Sunshine Employment Project (For-profit), the Sunshine Villages Project (Non-profit), and the Sunshine Homes Project (Non-profit).

This approach in itself creates employment and sustainability. It also provides a source of funding for charitable work and has served to build trust in its local community and hosting nation. This point is significant as countries who have been exploited by foreign companies for centuries find trust hard to grant.

Here are the Core Transformation Goals (installing a framework for transition):

  • Replacing dependence with self-reliance.
  • Substituting handouts with empowerment.
  • Shifting entitlement to earning.
  • Exchanging despair for hope.
  • Converting adversity into opportunity.
  • Overcoming stagnation with transformation.
  • Restoring dignity in place of worthlessness.
  • Swapping failure with excellence.

Our motto is that “We make the world’s best to make the world better”. We do this by providing our consumers with the freshest, best tasting cashews on the market. The profits from our sales are then used to do good in the world. At the core of all our work is our Sunshine Nut Company and its employees.

The Sunshine manufacturing strategy blends modern technology with local resources to achieve maximum competitive advantage. The advantage includes favorable labor rates, good sources of raw material, close proximity of raw materials, and the manual flexibility and dexterity of the work force.

The Sunshine Nut Company factory is in the Free Trade Zone section of the Beluluane Industrial Park. Acquired by Sunshine in 2011, the existing building was renovated as a pilot factory for a new manufacturing line. Many of the jobs are intentionally designed to be manual to drive local employment up and provide the dignity of work to more local people.

A Gallup poll released in June 2015 determined that what everyone wants in the world is a good job. Yet how does one achieve this when there are no jobs to be had? The government of Mozambique states that 80% of Mozambican families are employed in agriculture. Yet 99.9% of agricultural activity consists of subsistence farming. Therefore, one can deduce that the unemployment rate in Mozambique is extremely high. A major issue facing villages is the exodus of their youth as they leave and go to the capital city of Maputo looking for employment. Yet even in the capital city, few jobs are to be found, so most of these youth end up on the streets involved in criminal activity. We are here to provide employment and self-sustaining income to the people of Mozambique.

Our goal is to employ Mozambicans and uplift them and their families to better living conditions both now and in their futures by providing employment. Except for the Larson family, the entire staff at Sunshine Nut Co is Mozambican. Our company staff has 70% female make-up. Our top positions are held by females- administrative manager (Sebi) and factory manager (Aida). At Sunshine Nut Co, it is more than a work place for our employees; it is a family environment that permeates everything we do.

Sunshine Nut Company is a B Corp certified factory and operates with the highest level of food safety certification (FSSC22000), while also reinvesting 90% of our distributed profits back into community programs.

The Sunshine Villages Project is being implemented with donated funds coming through the Sunshine Approach Foundation. In the past two years, we have partnered with five villages in both the Gaza and Cabo Delgado provinces. This project starts a new community-owned farm in each village to develop their cashew crop and introduces primary processing in a different model called Project Sunshine.

The project consists of a cashew farm and village factory in each community. The project transforms subsistence farmers into entrepreneurs through cash crop farming. Each family in the village is given 2 hectares (in the community’s name), water wells, 476 cashew tree saplings, and lots of education. Our staff members are there, on the farms, guiding and educating the families. The village factory allows the families to shell their own cashew harvest. Each family can aspire to earn an annual income of nearly $5,000 per family after they shell and sell the raw cashews. Previously the average income for a subsistence farmer was $33 per year, so the impact this project will have on these communities is profound. Sunshine plans on being in these villages, working alongside these families for generations.

We currently have 500 families participating in the Gaza and Cabo Delgado projects. Another project is starting in Nampula Province where another 150 families will be Sunshine Village Project partners. As the project spreads to new villages in the coming years, the impact on these families, their communities, and the Mozambican economy will grow.

Meeting with the community leaders of Palm Sede in the Cabo Delgado conflict region of Northern Mozambique. Sunshine entered when nobody else would to bring peace through prosperity in an area that was the hotspot for an Islamic insurgency the last 7 years. The community now has hope through opportunity.

The Sunshine Homes Project started with our first house in 2014. We now have eight Sunshine houses in the Matola neighborhoods near the SNL factory. Our Sunshine Homes pair widows or abandoned, vulnerable women with orphaned children to create new families. We currently have eight women and 30 children (ranging in age from our one-year-old baby Ester to our 22-year-old Cecilia, who is in her senior year of university) in our care. Our mothers find a renewed sense of purpose and dignity in their lives as caretakers of the children. Our children get to be children again and flourish as they leave behind a life of abandonment, abuse, and suffering. Each family is given a monthly allotment for their living expenses, as well as what is needed for the clothing, medical and educational needs of the children. The children are raised by a Mozambican woman, in a Mozambican community, and within their Mozambican culture. Our hope is that they will become independent adults who are capable of living within the challenging circumstances a country like Mozambique presents.

The Beacons of Light Program was created to care for the neediest of the vulnerable children who live around our Sunshine Houses. The mothers at our houses lead these programs. They see it as their way to give back to the community. Our mothers choose 12 of the most vulnerable children who live around their house to attend the program. While our Sunshine children are off at school, our mothers host the program three mornings each week from 9:00-12:00. Each day, the children come to play, learn academic-related topics, and receive a small traditional morning meal of local bread, called pao, and tea. The day finishes off with cleaning the children up to return home. The caretaker washes their faces, hands and feet and the children brush their teeth. They line up and return home loved, happy, and secure.

Your generous donation can change lives - join us in making a difference today!

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