soymilk program


Soymilk is highly effective in combating child malnutrition because it is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and protein.


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 daily turn these soybeans into soymilk using specially designed soymilk-producing VitaCows and VitaGoats 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.

Soybeans are turned into nutrient-rich soymilk using a VitaGoat or VitaCow machine.

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VitaGoat machines have become an integral component of First Steps’ Soymilk program since they were introduced in 2005. First Steps now has 36 VitaGoats in operation in North Korea. 

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. A VitaGoat produces 15 litres of soymilk every 30 minutes.



VitaCow machines have become an integral component of First Steps’ Soymilk program since they were introduced in 2004. First Steps now has 52 VitaCows in operation. 

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. A VitaCow produces 40-45 litres of soymilk per hour.


After soymilk is produced, it is placed in a stainless steel milk cans to avoid the growth of bacteria and product spillage. Then the soymilk is transported (likely on three-wheeled motorcycles or bicycles) to children living in orphanages, co-operative farms, daycares and primary and secondary boarding schools.





Soybeans have been an essential part of Korean cuisine and agriculture for more than 1,000 years, providing a major source of protein. 

Soybeans are considered a "complete" nutritional source, containing all the essential amino acids the body needs. They contain good carbohydrates and fat, and are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, folic acid and iron. They taste great, too!