Sita Poudel with Prakash Women’s Group in Belsi. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee
If you’ve browsed Heifer’s blog for long at all, you’ve already met Sita Poudel, who was one of the original goat project participants from Heifer Nepal in 1993, and has been working with the organization ever since.
She’s been one of our most cherished Heifer Heroes, featured in World Ark magazine in 2010, and has also been highlighted here on the blog for International Women’s Day 2012.
Heifer staff members Vicki Clarke and Cathy Sanders talk about meeting Poudel for the first time during a visit to Nepal earlier this year.
Poudel started her own nongovernmental organization, the Women’s Group Coordination Committee in Chitwan, Nepal, which works with nearly 500 women’s groups in the country. Her warm heart and perseverance show how far two goats and a passion for helping others can take you.
Join Sita Poudel and Heifer in helping lift the women of Nepal to self-reliance.
We’ve received more than $1 million from generous Heifer donors and a group of local donors was so deeply moved by the success of our previous Nepal projects that they are investing over $1.2 million, accelerating the pace of change. We need your help now so we can triple the impact of your gift!
Hunger is something that each and every one of us here at Heifer confronts every day. We are constantly working to raise awareness of the nearly 1 billion people who live with chronic hunger. For those outside the walls, it’s easy to forget that hunger is a real problem, but one that has real, sustainable solutions. World Hunger Day serves as a reminder to all of us about this dire problem, and also celebrates the achievements of those who have found a way out of the cycle of hunger and poverty.
Heifer’s approach to ending hunger and poverty has been proven time and again in our 70 years. Ours is a long-term strategy that emphasizes community involvement. Much training and preparation is required before families receive a livestock gift from Heifer. These animal gifts help families increase income, which paves the way for more education, improved living conditions, access to bigger markets and many other benefits. Heifer’s third-party evaluationshave consistently shown improvements in the areas of livestock care and management, education and empowerment.
Photo by Jake Lyell, courtesy of Heifer International.
This World Hunger Day, I’ll be remembering and celebrating those Heifer project participants I’ve had the pleasure to meet personally. Like Hoang Anh Tuan, who has turned a $100 micro-loan and cows from Heifer into a thriving farm. He is sending his son to college, and just bought a new bicycle for his eldest daughter to ride to a school for students gifted in mathematics, physics and chemistry.
But Hoang Anh Tuan is just one of the 18.5 million families Heifer has helped rise out of hunger and poverty. This World Hunger Day we’ll be celebrating our work with those families while recognizing that we still have much to do—and recommitting to that work which is before us.
Heifer International is honored to be among the 40 organizations highlighted by Food Tank: The Food Think Tank for our “invaluable work to change the way we eat, grow, cook, buy, and sell food.”
Since its launch in January, Food Tank has been spreading the messages of groups around the world that are working to improve food systems. They’ve taken the information gathered and researched and chosen to highlight these 40 organizations, with the hope “that the more people know about the work that these groups are doing, the more people can be inspired to make their own change in the food system.”
The list includes organizations from the United States and abroad. Heifer is in esteemed company with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, ONE Campaign, Oxfam, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme, and WinRock International, among others.
Heifer was chosen, according to the website, for offering, “a variety of resources that help impoverished farmers create sustainable sources of income, providing them with research on effective grazing methods, optimal animal well-being, and the creation of local networks that farmers can use to share resources with one another.”
At Heifer we are working hard to improve the lives of people around the world. We know that changes in the food system, including everything from backyard gardens to agriculture intended for markets, is important to this transformation.
Farmer’s Market in Hughes, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
Our Seeds of Change project, which works right here in the U.S., helps to develop sustainable local farmers and food systems through wealth-creation value chains that lead to measurable impact in social capital, livelihoods, nutrition and improved environment.
A good example can be seen in our work in Appalachia with Liz Riddick, a woman who makes kale chips. She wants to expand, but there isn’t enough kale grown locally to accommodate her plans and she cannot afford to import more kale. So, with Heifer’s help through Seeds of Change, Riddick is working with farmers to plant more kale. This will help her produce more kale chips to grow her business, satisfy a growing consumer demand, and provide a new opportunity for income for farmers. Wealth and opportunity grow throughout the value chain.
Arminda Pascual de Calderón and Saturnina Torres de Rojas bagging vegetables for sale at a nearby market in Achocalla, Bolivia. Photo by Christian DeVries, courtesy of Heifer International.
Co-founded by Ellen Gustafson and Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank informs on domestic and global food issues and highlights how hunger, among other issues, can be solved by research and investment in agriculture.
This guest post was written by Stephen Bailey, Communications & Branding Intern for Heifer International.
Photo credit: These Birds Walk
As part of the Little Rock Film Festival, Heifer International awarded “These Birds Walk” with its first-ever Social Impact Film Award. Directors Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq received the award for their resolve in shedding light on a social issue and how it is being addressed in Karachi, Pakistan. The award included a $10,000 cash prize provided by the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site to the directors to finish post-production and distribution of their film.
I was able to screen the movie and was immediately attracted to the film’s ability to reveal the complexity and depth of the social issues affecting Pakistani youth, while illustrating the incredible resilience and bravery that these young people have.
As children, we learn about the migratory journey that birds take every year. It is an ongoing expedition to escape the cold, resource-scarce winters for warmer, richer lands. We usually frame this commute as leaving home to head south when times are rough, then returning home when sunshine, rain and budding plants once again make the area inhabitable. But “These Birds Walk” questions the idea of home as an inherent, absolute place and points to the sunshine, rain and budding plants as the true indicators of what home is.
Omar, a young runaway Pakistani boy, still carries the wounds of his abusive parents. Now he tells jokes, plays and grows under the roof of the Edhi Foundation, an organization run by dying humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi that houses street children and returns children (and the bodies of those who have died) to their homes. Omar claims that he only shed a “single tear” when his parents would beat him, and takes it upon himself to exhibit his strength and virility by bullying his peers at the home for runaways in Karachi.
But one day his taunting catches up with him, and he is brought to tears at the hands of another troubled youth, Mumtaz. Suddenly, his understanding of “home” is put into question, and his quest for that home leads him to cross paths with the young orphan and ambulance driver for the Edhi Foundation, Asad.
Unlike in the U.S., Edhi ambulances return runaway children and bodies to their families. After struggling through a rough childhood without parents and nearly taking his own life, Asad has dedicated his life to helping children find their homes. But after years of working for the Edhi Foundation, he too begins to question which he is truly able to take home, the children or the bodies.
Photo by Stephen Bailey, courtesy of Heifer International
The message of their film strikes a chord with Heifer’s Value-Based Holistic Community Development model, an effort to strengthen relationships, agency and capacity through shared values and vision. In essence, by making a community a “home” for all.
Be sure to watch the official “These Birds Walk” trailer below and stay tuned for its future release in theaters.
Photo by Chelsey McNiel, Communications Intern, Heifer Headquarters
Heifer International volunteers change lives as they share in our mission to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. They generate support and spread joy through fundraising, education and meaningful relationships.
In the Southern Philippines, volunteers helped project participants learn methods and strategies for improved animal health.
Jun Ayensa, regional program manager for Heifer Southern Philippines, captured their work in a photo story.
On Saturday night, May 18, 2013, Heifer International held its first “Beyond Hunger: Feast in the Field” event in Little Rock, Arkansas. This unique “farm to fork” celebration raised funds and awareness for sustainable agriculture benefiting Heifer projects in the Arkansas Delta and Nepal.
Feast in the Field provided a chance for those living in the Arkansas area to come together to support Heifer’s transformative work.
Heifer International headquarters was turned into a white farmland with animals brought in from the Heifer Ranch, local farmers showing off their produce and an information booth where attendees could learn more about Heifer’s work.
Guests came dressed in all-white, snappy casual attire and shared an evening of local food and community spirit on the grounds of Heifer Village. The event generated awareness and raised funds for this important cause.
Guests enjoyed a family-style dinner featuring local foods prepared by the award-winning executive chefs from the Capital Hotel and heard from distinguished speakers such as Heifer project participants, Heifer President and CEO, and the mayor of Hughes, Arkansas, Larry Owens.
Ferrari discussed the critical issues of hunger and poverty. He said, “As we enjoy our time together this evening, more than 2,000 children will die from hunger-related issues. That is most certainly not over-dinner conversation, but it shows how serious the problem is and how quickly we must move to resolve it.”
Though Heifer has helped more than 18.5 million families to date, we must work faster to help end hunger in all areas of need.
Heifer International also joined with the Little Rock Film Festival this year to give the first ever Social Impact Award. The award included a $10,000 cash prize sponsored by Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service. The winner was “These Birds Walk,” by filmmakers Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq.
Also awarded that night with the 2013 Dan West Fellow Award was Jerry Bedford. Bedford was Heifer’s first Director of Development and has seen Heifer grow from a small organization to one that now helps more than two million people a year out of hunger and poverty. Bedford helped establish Heifer International as one of the most effective nonprofit organizations today.
The night concluded with a performance by The Voice finalist and Heifer supporter, Cody Belew. He performed his song he wrote specifically for Heifer called, “Say Love.” As the crowd enjoyed his music, the night came to a close where attendees saw how Heifer’s work helped families move out of hunger and poverty and into a life of self-reliance.
If you could not make the first “Beyond Hunger: Feast in the Field” event Saturday night, we offer you the slide show below to see more photos of the event, and if you would like to make a donation to help the Arkansas Delta or projects in Nepal to visit, www.Heifer.org.
View more photos of the event in the slideshow below or on Flickr.
This weekly post shines a light on a handful of stories from Heifer.org’s “From the Field” section.
Gegham, a 13-year-old rural youth engaged in Heifer Armenia’s Young Agriculturists Network of Armenia (YANOA) project, dreamed of establishing his own duck farm. He developed a business plan through his local YES! Youth Club and was awarded a $100 seed grant to put his plan into action. His little farm quickly grew and Gegham passed on his seed grant to another youth. He said he does his best to learn about the ducks well-being and how to give proper care.
Thirteen-year- old Gegham started a duck farm using a $100 seed grant from Heifer Armenia. Photo by Anna Arakelyan, Business Education Expert, Development Principles NGO
In Vietnam, one Heifer family is enhancing their impact with promising results. Tran Thi Cuc Huong and her husband, Nguyen Van Lieu, grow coconuts, dragon fruit and morning glory and raise chickens and pigs. They use a biogas system to turn pig manure into methane for cooking and electricity, which also prevents their ponds from being polluted. Huong said their dreams of expanding and helping others only became a reality with hard work, creativity and knowledge from Heifer’s trainings.
For 61 new project families in Gui Xi Village, China, the dream of ending hunger and poverty is taking its first steps. The village’s first Passing on the Gift® (POG) ceremony in April 2013, presented these families with gifts of livestock and welcomed them into a community achieving promising results of improved living conditions, education and health. The new families agreed to Pass on the Gifts and continue to spread unity and love in their community.
Every week we highlight some of the people who are funding our work creatively or helping us spread the word of our mission online. If you spot Heifer International while you’re surfing the web or know of a fun or creative fundraising effort, please share it with us here in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Heifer International
Fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss and his Worldbuilders team came to visit Heifer International headquarters in Little Rock and Heifer Ranch in Perryville. While here he talked to a reporter from the Arkansas Times, who wrote up this great story about the visit and about the Worldbuilders’ successful fundraising efforts.
Congrats to Broward County Public Schools Nova High School teacher Shawna Morgan, this year’s Florida Economic Educator of the Year. A human geography teacher, Morgan and her students supported various international causes including Heifer International.
More than a dozen poultry raisers opened their coops to visitors on May 18, with donations received during the tours going to help end hunger through Heifer. What a great way to learn about raising chickens and Heifer International.
Congrats to Dr. Trevor Tomkins, who has been active with Heifer International as a board member and the Heifer Foundation. He was recently honored with the 2013 Distinguished Service Award for his life-long contributions to the feed industry by the American Feed Industry Association.
Vice President of Heifer’s Africa Program, Elizabeth Bintliff, talks with dowser about the East Africa Dairy Project, which recently received $8.5 million from the Gates Foundation.
The Rotary Youth hope to purchase an ark through Heifer International, which includes a pair of each animal, and have held many fundraisers this year to accomplish their goal, such as Rotaraking, helping with tours, and their latest event, electronics recycling.
Have you checked out When Cows Fly yet? It’s an online portal where Heifer donors, volunteers and participants from around the world can share their stories. Like this fiber artist, who is using her talents to benefit others. Or Sarah Sow, who donated a gift to Heifer in honor of her mother, as well as her good friend Polly Pig’s mother. (You are curious about their names, aren’t you? Click through and find out!) Heifer Sacramento shared info about a Fun Raiser fundraiser they are holding, and a California church’s Bike-a-Thon. You can share your story, too.
Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. Today is National Pack Rat Day and like pack rats, some of us tend to collect more belongings than we really need. Here at Heifer International we encourage people to practice Sharing and Caring, one of Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development. If you’ve got some things to unpack, here are a few options to lighten your load.
Photo credit: oddlovescompany.com
Hold a Clothing Swap Donating old clothing is helpful, but a swap can make a more direct impact in your neighborhood or organization. Ask participants to bring a few articles of clothing and then have fun haggling over the trades. A swap can also be done with shoes, toys and books.
Upcycle With Style Old T-shirts for quilt squares, abandoned toys as planters and plastic grocery bags to make trash cans-Pinterest is filled with DIY instructions. Inventive minds are a powerful tool in caring for the earth. Before you recycle, try to find ways to upcycle the weary and worn things in your cluttered closets.
Give Your Time If you have a “load” of time on your hands, why not use it to help others organize their abundant belongings? Or, use it in other meaningful ways like taking a meal to new parents, offering to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog or care for the Earth by picking up trash.
Through cooperation and friendship, there are many ways to share and care. Be creative and get involved in your community. Small acts of kindness will spread, building a large network of giving to Pass on the Gift® of hope, unity and friendship.
Triple the impact of your giving this May to empower women in Nepal. Thanks to generous Heifer donors and a small group of local donors moved by our previous success in Nepal, your gift to our May Match will be tripled.
Photo by Russell Powell, courtesy of Heifer International
Heifer’s work in Nepal has led to dramatic transformation in the communities. Working with women who are often unable to overcome the caste system and gender discrimination, Heifer is a proven model to move families from subsistence to sustenance.
Vicki Clarke, a member of Heifer’s Philanthropy team, recently visited Nepal. She reflects on the large differences in the quality of life in areas where Heifer has just started to work and where Heifer has worked for years.