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Sunday, June 24 News

Goatboy project helps African children

Goatboy Soaps in New Milford is touching lives across the globe.

The local business, owned by Rick and Lisa Agree, supports many charities, including the GotJoy Soap project.

Over the past three years, Goatboy (www.goatboy.us) has provided the means for a community in Masaka, Uganda, to grow and assist schoolchildren.

“There’s a personal connection,” Lisa explained of why her family has developed a relationship with the community.

Agree said she heard about the community from Dr. Casey Jordan, a criminologist at Western Connecticut State University, and another individual, who together visited Uganda a few years ago.

While there, they met a gentleman, Mathias Mawanda, who was eager to help a community of single mothers and orphaned children survive and get an education.

After hearing about the “dilapidated school” the children attended and the plight of those who live there, Agee was moved.

“Casey saw how poverty stricken (the area) was,” Agee said, noting that was what sparked Jordan and her to purchase chickens for the community.

Mawanda became Facebook friends with Agee and began sharing photographs of the children and how the chickens were making a difference in their lives, and how women in the community were making beads and dresses, all in an effort to become self-sustaining.

After a few discussions, Agee said it became clear that the addition of goats could be a valuable resource.

Agee raised funds to purchase three goats for the community and, over time, eventually made a video on how to make soap from goat milk, and shipped some basic soap-making supplies to Mawanda.

Mawanda was elated and, along with the schoolchildren, dubbed the project GotJoy.

As a result, the community produces quality soap with their own goat’s milk in a school room made of cinder blocks.

Proceeds of the soap sales has provided funding for uniforms, school fees and shoes.

Agee said there are 91 children in the community.

“We extend our great love and thanks to Goatboy Soap for making such a huge difference amongst African kids,” Mawanda wrote to the Agees on Facebook.

“How could we make it without Goatboy Soaps?,” the teacher asked, noting thanks to Goatboy, the children “have received shoes, a few uniforms and socks.”

This year, Goatboy Soaps donated a percentage of its summer sales to the project to purchase raw materials and school shoes.

Agee said Goatboy is raising funds to purchase 60 blankets for the children for Christmas.

Blankets are $8 and can be purchased by contacting Goatboy at 1 Murphy’s Way, New Milford, CT 06776, with a memo “GotJoy blankets.”

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