Manhattan has become a new home for more than 200 refugees in recent years. Valor Honey was recently awarded a grant to conduct training for Afghan Allies living in the area. The Manhattan organization is teaming with Manhattan Area Resettlement (MART) to offer the Honeybee Refugee Employability and Mental Health Program.
The initiative is designed to integrate refugees into the community through beekeeping. The team aims to provide comprehensive training in beekeeping and honey production, fostering both employment opportunities and mental wellbeing for refugees in Manhattan.
The one-year pilot will will address the need for employment and mental health support through two comprehensive six-month beekeeping and honey production training courses. Candidates will work hand-in-hand with accomplished beekeepers, some of whom have worked with bees in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The training includes classroom and practical learning, culminating in a certificate that will open employment opportunities within Valor Honey and the broader beekeeping industry. In addition to imparting skills, the initiative aims to help rebuild lives, create a sense of belonging, and offer a pathway to sustainable livelihoods.
Valor Honey already offers internships for active duty military and veterans to learn beekeeping at several levels. Their work has shown that, when coupled with traditional counseling, beekeeping techniques have a great therapeutic benefit. The program begins this month, and will accept 15 applicants. Another 15 applicants will attend the course in the 2nd half of this year. The one-year pilot is funded by the Kansas State Office for Refugees, under the Employability and Mental Health Initiative Program. Its success could see the training program become a permanent fixture. For more information, contact Idrees Khalil at 785-477-2924, or visit: Allies Welcome, or Valor Honey for more information.