In 2010, Michael Hensel traveled to Cambodia and his perception of the world was never the same.
As part of an Impact Trip – a vacation with time spent in service to others or the environment – Michael visited a local orphanage in Phnom Penh. Being witness to 95 children going about their lives with smiles on their faces despite the daily hardship of searching for food among mountains of trash, he was deeply moved. Feeling privileged to have essential resources so easily accessible in his life, Michael began to question what he could do to help needy communities like this one.
Michael then visited the world’s largest spiritual site, Angkor Wat. Surrounded by the beauty of the ancient temples, and mindful of his desire to help the underprivileged, he experienced an epiphany that changed his life. In a profound awakening in the middle of the night, he discovered his calling:
To improve the standard of living for poor children and communities in developing countries by equipping them with sustainable food sources, therefore empowering these communities to achieve food security.
Upon returning to the United States, Michael made it his mission to educate himself about gardening and other food production processes. Experts in Texas helped to identify Aquaponics as the most sustainable solution to create a powerful and lasting impact within these poor communities.
Koya Project was born in 2016 as a vehicle for Michael’s passion to improve the quality of life of all the remarkable people he encountered while traveling the world, and to spread powerful knowledge that would support eliminating world hunger while creating real impact.