Roots of Peace
In the midst of a career in business and journalism, and 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. The organization used the experience gained there to develop a successful and replicable model that it has since implemented in Cambodia, Angola and Afghanistan.
KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS OF 2010
- Removed over 100,000 land mines and impacted over 100,000 farmers and families; working in 20 or 34 Afghan provinces to provide alternative agriculture crops to poppies — doubling/tripling the income for Afghan farmers. Awarded USAID contract for $34 million in January 2010 to leverage our model throughout Afghanistan.
- Since September 1997, Roots of Peace has cleared thousands of acres of vineyards in dozens of villages — turning “Mines to Vines.” This year, we have de-mined Bastica and replanted 25,000 grapevines and 12,500 apple orchards in collaboration with the University of Zadar.
- Raised over 30 million “Pennies for Peace” since September 11,2003 to build/rebuild schools and soccer fields on de-mined land in Afghanistan, as 44.6% of the population is under the age of 14 years. In Spring 2010, the ROP Penny Campaign will open a high school to educate 600 girls in Bamyan, Afghanistan.