Cargill Cote D'Ivoire Orphanage
Children celebrate at an orphanage funded by Cargill, Inc. in Ivory Coast, Africa.

With funding from cocoa producer Cargill, Inc., Ivory Coast’s Ministry of Family, Women and Children officially opened an orphanage in Soubre, Ivory Coast Monday that could help up to 60 needy children.

Yves Onghen, Cargill’s training and project coordinator, says the endeavor aims to positively impact cocoa-farming communities.

“As part of Cargill’s Sustainable Cocoa Program, we strive to make a lasting difference in the rural communities where we live and work,” Onghen says. “For this project, we have worked with local Compassion Esther to respond to the pressing need for a safe house for children in Soubre.”

Cargill, which has created cocoa-based products for more than 50 years, began the orphanage initiative in 2010 after discovering Mme Ouedraogo, the director of non-governmental organization Compassion Esther, had welcomed 22 orphans into her home.

Ouedraogo will also direct the orphanage, and she says it will greatly affect disadvantaged children in the politically charged African country.

“We are giving these children hope and an opportunity to dream,” Ouedraogo says. “I am confident that by providing them with a roof over their head and a safe, loving home we will strengthen their confidence and help them fight for a better future.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans, produced 1.2 million metric tons of cocoa in 2010. Additionally, the World Cocoa Foundation estimates 5 to 6 million people farm cocoa worldwide.