When we started, and why.
Each of the founders, Alice (Clare) Augustine, Ph.D. and Jack Kennedy, Ph.D., began their journey, unknown to them at the time, into nutrition for the undernourished on very different but on closely related paths but each in response to the same needs and with the same objective. That objective was to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged people through nutrition and in doing so improve health and educational opportunities.
While growing up in Bangalore India Clare experienced long term and varied childhood illnesses to the point of coma and near death. Part of her recovery and therapies included the prescription for more protein which took the form of an additional “egg a day”. She became convinced that an appropriate high protein diet played a huge part in her recovery and dealing with on-going issues, even today.
As Clare recovered from her illnesses to the point where she could attend school she continued her education, majoring in biology. Her focus was on agriculture which satisfied her love for plants and science. After graduate school she joined a major international agricultural company working in their research laboratories on advanced farm plant production technologies. As she embarked on her professional career she developed a heart for children living in a children’s home nearby. The orphanage was for kids who were HIV positive and who had been abandoned to a life of isolation and with little hope.
In 2005 she decided one of her purposes in life was to provide “an egg a day” to each child in the home and has continued to do so since that time. In her company she became known as the “egg lady”. She was very influenced by the book by Rick Warren – the Purpose Driven life.
It was this quote “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.”, that got her started into thinking innovatively for the project.
Jack also shared a love for plants, majoring in agronomy and crop physiology. He had joined the same agricultural company as Clare worked for and eventually was assigned to establish a new technology based business in India. While there, he fell in love with the country and the people and felt he could make a contribution to the country in a different and more personal way.
He “retired” in 2001 to a vocational path which led him to partner in 2003 with another business man who wanted to serve those afflicted with leprosy in India. Working with Shoes For Hope, later to be renames Embrace A Village, Jack’s main FOCUS was nutrition to include education, gardening, micro farming for business, and food pantry. After just a few years it was clear one of the main “nutritional missings” and perhaps the hardest to deliver affordably was protein. There were some successes and many failures.
To help pay for his travel to India Jack returned to his former company in a part time role in 2013. On his first day back a former employee of his asked if he was still going to India working in leprosy colonies. Answering yes he was asked if he had met the “egg lady”.
Several days later Clare, Sandy (Jack’s wife) and he met. The result was a new partnership to serve the undernourished. Both had a vision for the need to deliver protein in a better way, especially to kids. Clare asked the question she already knew the answer to. What does every child want to be? Happy! 500,000 eggs later, Happy Bar Inc. was born.
Note: Unless strictly supervised many children will not eat an egg, especially the yolk; meat is either too expensive or against their religious beliefs.