The photo on his WhatsApp status shows a waving Ukrainian flag. “I’ve had the flag for 23 years, but now it hangs prominently on the façade as a statement, so that the war is not forgotten. For years, I have been arranging and bidding on projects in the Ukraine, so impact of the war is close to my heart. Leendert Frans has been involved with Worldpartners since the early 2000’s through the company ‘Adama Farm’ and other social projects. He likes to talk about his passion, business in Ukraine.
I have always been fundraising for the social projects in Ukraine. Everyone in my area knows it, but the Russian invasion makes it so personal to me now. Now, I can share those Ukrainian experiences at churches, to those remember the war must not be forgotten. The donations that have been given as a result have been truly heartwarming.
Nights without sleep
I think the conflict is terrible; it keeps me awake at night. The war draws me in. I have seen quite a bit of Ukraine over the years and I know many of the places where the war takes place. I see the same places, but now they are destroyed. I take very personally, because I know the people, the culture and the language and I feel very involved as the co-owner of the Adama company.
‘Adama’ means ‘fertile ground’ and is mentioned in Genesis 10:19. The company was founded in 2005 as an independent company in western Ukraine. The company leases land from about a hundred private individuals who generate income as a result. The company owns agricultural machinery, buildings, and a water tower. The company currently has 450 hectares (1100 acres) of land where potatoes, maize, soy, winter wheat and winter barley are grown. In addition to permanent jobs and seasonal workers, Adama offers work to former addicts from it’s rehabilitation center. The Adama farm is a beacon of hope, In all these years, it has been a blessing to many, because God gave His blessing to it.
What can I do remotely if there is a war? Fortunately, I can be of help both in Ukraine and in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, I arrange trucks with food and emergency relief goods. For example, we met Worldpartners through a primary school in Rotterdam. The primary school students all personally filled a backpack with stuffed animals, t-shirts, art supplies and a few personal items. A total of 8 cubic meters (280 cubic feet) of backpacks were given away to Ukrainian children and our network contacts distributed these backpacks to children within Ukraine.
Harvest given away
When the war broke out, we received money from a Christian emergency fund. This allowed us to give away the harvest we still had from last year. We sent 360 tons of potatoes, 100 pigs and 10 tons of sugar to citizens in need in the affected towns and villages. With donations from the Netherlands, we were able to further expand the aid and the logistics part was also supported. I arranged the vegetables, which are often offered for free throughout the country and passed them on to Worldpartners, who supplied the transportation. I am really grateful to God for the cooperation and the work done, for being a connection within the work and being able to help people in need with food.
Leendert Frans (1951) from The Netherlands is a retired flower bulb grower. Around 1995, many Ukrainians were knocking on his church in Alkmaar looking for work, so he decided he must help. He decided to travel to Ukraine with a trip that changed his life. Leendert, Worldpartners and the local church founded Adama in 2005, a business with a major social impact today. He can tell many compelling stories about all transports, relief supplies, learning processes and other adventures.