Friends of the Holy Land – Press Release dated 26 July 2023.

Fr Mario believed that Italian-quality cheese could be made in Jordan using local sheep and dairy milk, which would really benefit the local economy and employ local women. Looking for a project manager, he recruited Ikhlas, a young and motivated agricultural engineer, recently graduated from Mu’tah University in Jordan. “The project really interested me and allowed me to stay with my family instead of moving to Amman to get a job” she said.

Friends of the Holy Land had worked on a previous employment project with Fr Mario, so provided funding for training, the purchase of equipment for their factory and salaries of six local women to get the project going in 2018. Our investment helped the initiative to flourish. The factory now covers its own costs, employs 14 local women who needed an income and has led to the creation of a very successful pizza and pasta res-taurant in nearby Amman which employs Iraqi Christian refugees.

Ikhlas to explain more about cheese making and the project’s effects on her life in this video:

To ensure consistent quality, the milk is supplied by their own flock of sheep and the project employs local shepherds to tend them.

As their reputation has grown, the demand for their cheese has increased which means that more sheep’s milk is needed that can currently be produced from their own flock. So, Fr Mario has asked us for funding to help purchase 50 additional sheep for their flock. This will allow them to ensure quality milk is being used in the production of the cheese and will keep the overall costs lower.

Sheep are not cheap though! To expand their flock, it will cost roughly £160 per sheep. Can you help by purchasing a sheep? Make a donation online: and add a note to say your donation is for ‘Jordanian flock of sheep’.