THE SOYMILK PROGRAM
Rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and protein, soymilk is highly effective in combating child malnutrition.
Soybeans have been an essential part of Korea cuisine and agriculture for more than 1,000 years, providing a major source of protein. They are considered a "complete" nutritional source, containing all the essential amino acids the body need. They contain good carbohydrates and fat, and are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and iron.
North Korea’s soybean crops do not yield enough soybeans to meet the country’s needs. First Steps ships Canadian non-GMO soybeans to North Korea to supplement the local supply. Soymilk factories turn these soybeans into soymilk using specially designed soymilk-producing VitaCow and VitaGoat machines. First Steps sends these machines to increase our local partners’ soymilk-producing capacity. Each morning, fresh soymilk is delivered to children living in orphanages, co-operative farms, daycares, kindergartens and primary and secondary boarding schools in the cities of Nampo, Wonsan, Hyongjesan, and Tongchon. Through First Steps’ Soymilk program, more than 100,000 children are receiving a daily cup of nutrient-rich soymilk.
- Ryang Choon Young, director of the Pyongsong Soymilk Production Centre in North Korea
FROM SOYBEANS TO SOYMILK
Soybeans are turned into nutrient-rich soymilk using a VitaCow or a VitaGoat machine.
A VitaGoat produces 15 litres of soymilk every 30 minutes.
The VitaGoat does not need electricity to operate; therefore, it can be placed at sites where electricity is unreliable or non-existent – which includes much of the country, except Pyongyang, the capital. Biomass fuels like wood, coal or dried corncobs fuel the VitaGoat.
First Steps now has 36 VitaGoats in operation in North Korea.
A VitaCow produces 40-45 litres of soymilk per hour.
The VitaCow is powered by electricity. It is so efficient that it can be used for 7 consecutive hours, yielding an amount of soymilk that is equal to the daily milk output of more than 20 milking cows.
First Steps now has 52 VitaCows in operation.