Story and photos by: Yu Hongshui, Anhui Regional Manager, Heifer China
On August 7, the sun blazed like a fireball. Residents of Huwan Village, Guji Town, didn’t
work on their farms. They carried small stools to the village playground because the children were going to perform a show.
Heifer China’s Self-Help Community Development Project in North Anhui started in Huwan Village, Guji Town, Jieshou City in April 2011. In coordination with Jieshou City Poverty Alleviation Office, Heifer’s project partner, and the project community management committee, 132 poverty-stricken families from five self-help groups (SHGs) became the first group of project participants. They began raising goats to promote sustainable development in the community. In the past year, goat-rearing activities have been scaled up, leading to an increase in income for most project participants..
In a recent management committee meeting, SHG members brainstormed ideas to do something different during summer vacation. With Fuyang Normal College as liaison, Huwan Village organized a college student volunteer activity. As volunteers, two students from Fuyang Normal College, Chen Tao and Chen Zhou, lived with project participant families and taught kids to paint, play sports, dance and perform martial arts. Village leaders, farmers and students strongly supported the students’ volunteer efforts. All the students at Huwan Primary School participated in this activity. Even students studying in the township returned to the village to attend the final performance of the summer vacation activity on August 7.
At 9 a.m., children dressed in gorgeous costumes started performing various numbers, including martial arts, dancing and singing.
The changes evident in Huwan Village are the best interpretation of Heifer’s “Not a cup, but a cow.”