Roots of Peace
In the midst of a career in business and journalism, while raising three children, Heidi Kühn was diagnosed with cancer. Following treatment, her appreciation for the gift of life led her to give back to the less fortunate and to live close to and nurture the land. Inspired by the campaign to ban and remove land mines, she founded Roots of Peace (ROP) in 1997 in her family home. Her goal was to bring income-generating, self-sustaining agricultural development to war-torn areas, while protecting wildlife and humans from land mines. ROP’s first project was in Croatia turning Mines To Vines. Following Croatia, Roots of Peace used the experience to develop a successful and replicable model of Demine-Replant-Rebuild® that has since been implemented in eight countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, the Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam and Israel-West Bank.
As a humanitarian, post-conflict organization, Roots of Peace has dedicated its mission to three steps: (1) Demine: clearing lands ravaged by landmines, unexploded ordnance and other war debris; (2) Replant: working with families, communities and nations to plant crops, build resilient agricultural livelihoods and develop sustainable enterprises; (3) Rebuild: rebuilding communities leaving a lasting, sustainable legacy of peace – where once conflict had ravaged the land.
Impact since joining the portfolio in 2006:
- Impacted over 1 million farmers in the past decade and planted over 5 million trees, tripling the income of Afghan farmers and reducing poverty and starvation in areas previously un-farmable.
- Works in all 34 provinces in Afghanistan, assisting farmers to improve traditional methods of grape farming to modern trellis posts, resulting in higher quality crops and increased income for farmers and traders.
- Generated 5,908 permanent full time jobs in Afghanistan with total sales from increased exports of fruits exceeding $6,000,000 in 2014. They have harvested 40,031 pomegranates and extracted 100,000 landmines.
- In Vietnam, working with over 1,500 farmers to develop value chains in black pepper and cacao/cashew intercrop and planted over 300,000 crops, doubling income for rural farmers in the Quang Tri Province.
- Established new program in Israel – West Bank to demine and replant sacred sites.
- Five schools have been built worldwide with 50 million “pennies of peace.”
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