Photo above shows our Founder, the late Bryan Baker with the beginning of a 'Kitchen Garden' demo
Brief Biography: Bryan Edward and Edeltraud (Anja) Baker
Our greatly missed Founder Bryan Edward Baker, born 1937 in London, UK, suddenly and unexpected passed away on 10 January 2017 in Chongwe District. He has shown great compassion for people and the environment. His work will always be remembered and we will do our best to continue in his name.
Bryan lived and worked between Zambia and Zimbabwe for 38 years.
His life-long involvement with horticulture and farming in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Western Australia was of great benefit to the people and Oscar projects .
He was an active member of the Naturalist Society of Central Africa and participated in cataloging botanical biodiversity in different parts of the country. In former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, he was granted a permit to collect and grow protected and endangered indigenous plants and was occasionally called into Harare Botanical Garden for consultation on identification of plants and other issues.
Together with the late Mrs. Kay Linley, he co-authored the book “Flowers of the Veld” in the Bundu Series, published by Longmans of Rhodesia (Pvt.) Ltd for 'The Standing Conference of National Voluntary Youth Organisations in Rhodesia. This book is still available.
When he retired from the work force, he decided to share his multitude of skills and experiences in agriculture, horticulture, botany, environment and biodiversity, which was supported by his wife Edeltraud (Anja). The couple spent 10 years, researching and visiting various parts of Zambia and Zimbabwe, to put a plan together.
The first contact for their work in Zambia was Fr. Kennedy Seketa at Provincial Pastoral Care of the Archdiocese in Kasama. A lot of research about poverty in parts of Africa was done, ending up in the plan to help people help themselves to be more self-reliant. They prepared and designed basic programmes for projects in organic solutions for conservation and agricultural results.
Edeltraud retired in 2006 from her work at Royal Perth Hospital. The couple was able to collect many useful items to kick-start their intended programmes. Work colleagues, friends, family members and well-wishers helped to organize and pack whatever was needed for the venture.
Many things had to be done, including documents for their volunteer work, finding a base, building up a support group etc. During 2008 Project OSCAR was established with a core-group of 12 Members. Finally in February 2009 the organisation was registered as Project OSCAR Community Service Society Zambia with the Registrar of Societies under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Bryan demonstrated various ways how to grow vegetables and fruits using compost and regenerate to the soil. He was in the forefront to show all the ins and outs how bamboo can be used to make life easier and earn some income too.
The couple has always been very much in love with nature, music (country, contemporary, classical, plantation songs), reading books, history, photography, walking and much more.
Brief Biography: Edeltraud (Anja) Baker
Edeltraud was born in 1951 in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, finished her schooling with a Certificate at the Commercial College before taking on nursing through the German Red Cross at the Regional Hospital in Sanderbusch, Lower Saxony. To be closer to her family, she decided to change her career and go into private practice as Arzthelferin (Medical Assistant).
She was trained in all faculties, including caring for the elderly; she worked as factory nurse, in the laboratory - and assisted with endoscopy.
Her interests in the environment and anthropology took her as a 'seafarer' without pay on a container ship for three months half way around the globe. She has seen many different cultures. In 1987 she migrated to Perth, Western Australia (WA), where she found employment as a Medical Assistant in private practice and the Cardiology Department of Royal Perth Hospital.
She was involved in the Natural Health Industry, Reiki, Shiatsu and Reflexology practices and ran her own Wholefood Health Shop in Perth.
When she and Bryan moved out into the Hills area she got more involved with land-care and attended courses in environmental studies at the Technical College in Northam, WA. Living in a small community in the rural area she volunteered for Hills Community Support Group, helped to care for the elderly and disabled.
Through her passion for people, particularly children with cancer, medical issues and research she involved herself in fund-raising for the 'Children Cancer Research Institute Australia' and the 'Australian Cancer Foundation'. She organized “Family Fun Days”, was involved in auctions and got her head shaved on her 50th Birthday for raising funds for the “Great Shave” campaign.
Like Bryan did, Edeltraud loves people and nature. She is passionate about justice for the voice-less. Taking photos is only one of many hobbies she follows up on, forever being busy with anything useful.
Photos below show the needed preparations for various projects in farming and skills development. Materials needed to be checked, labeled and packed.
The beginning in 2007 - Anja with women and children in Makasa Village, Northern Province of Zambia