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I saw an Associated Press blurb on Monday that piqued my interest. Amidst the varying news reports (mentioned by Brooke here) that climate change and drought are raising the world’s food prices, and the others pointing to rising poverty and hunger rates in the United States, the National Intelligence Council says that world poverty rates could be reduced by half by 2030.
The AP article was interesting to me on a couple of levels. First, the NIC pointed to a rising middle class in the growing economies in India, Vietnam and Indonesia as the driving force behind the poverty reduction; and, second because 2030 is less than two decades from now, which doesn’t really seem all that far off.
But can we, or better, should we, wait until 2030 to see those numbers drop that dramatically? I don’t think so. Sure the article is great news, and, yes, Heifer already works in both India and Vietnam, helping turn small farmers into small businessmen and women. Plus the article says that poverty reduction in these economies will continue despite economic upheaval, too. Even better!
So if what Christopher Kojm said on Saturday is right, that, “several hundred million people, armed with the resources and education will produce new technology to meet demands for food, water and energy,” don’t you think we can help them along?
I do. Heifer is already working to help create this burgeoning population of people. And we’re working harder and faster than ever before in areas that need it most—including the United States. Why don’t you help us?
On his first day in Nepal, Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari found himself among a group of withdrawn yet excited women in an unused classroom in the village of Kabilash in Chitwan district, a jostling 45-minute drive uphill on a dirt track that was patched up from recent landslides especially for his visit. The ethnic tribal women spoke of the challenges of and their aspirations for Heifer’s signature project, of which they were going to be a part. This was a first for Ferrari. Having traveled through Nepal in February 2011 and having heard about the country’s achievements in implementing transformational projects ever since he joined Heifer, Ferrari was more accustomed to strong women displaying confidence. “It validated the time and money we put into trainings to build the social capital to strengthen and transform women,” said Ferrari.
The women in Kabilash are part of a groundbreaking effort in Nepal that will scale up Heifer’s work to end poverty and hunger by increasing goat and milk production by helping women farmers increase production and enabling them to take part in the value chain through cooperatives formed and led by women. The overarching goal of the project, reducing importation of live goats and milk, will increase income for smallholder farmers through increased production and participation in the value chain, which will ensure that they get a fair share of the profits.
Heifer’s plan in this beautiful but resource-poor community is to establish sustainable partnerships with the local government, which is a co-funder of the project. “Our five-year plan consists of improving livestock and agriculture to help the people of this village escape poverty,” said Village Development Committee Secretary Pradhumna Khadka. “So when Heifer came to me with an opportunity to partner, I accepted it without any reservations.”
This is a partnership that works for all. Because after Heifer completes its work in Kabilash, it can be assured that the impacts will be exponential. “By this time, Heifer will have strengthened the farmers, the cooperative they form, and the agents of development, the government organizations, who are there to stay,” said Parbati Rawal, executive director of SRAM, a Heifer local partner NGO that will implement the project in Kabilash.
Heifer Nepal is geared up to implement similar projects in 28 districts of Nepal in the next five—an ambitious plan that has already been able to seek support in forms of resource leverage and collaborative partnerships from the national and local government and other development agencies.
“In the last six months, the biggest change has been that from a thatched house. I have been able to build a concrete house.” —Rukkhi Devi
Life is getting better for Rukkhi Devi. She looks at the two goats she received from Heifer India. These now have four kids. The two to be passed on are ready for the big ceremony. The goats changed her life. She got three liters of milk every day: she kept one for her family’s consumption and sold the rest at about $1 per liter to the local merchant. The family has sold two bucks for 5,000 Rupees (about US $ 100) this month. About 10 months ago, they sold a male kid male for $40. The family has earned a total of $140 that has increased their family income.
But in order to get this result, Rukkhi had to learn how to keep her livestock. She learned the benefits of keeping the goats in a shed so the hot summer sun would not burn their skin. She learned how to stall-feed them too. The fodder seeds Heifer provided also helped.
Rukkhi is also seeing the benefits of the vegetable seeds she received. Now the family has eaten green vegetables every day for the last three months. These positive results encouraged them to plant eight more trees this year.
The highlight of the project were the three import trainings Rukkhi received:
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. In Asia/South Pacific, our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates. You can read the first story about Rukkhi Devi and her family here.
While her days as the U.S. Secretary of State are drawing to a close, Hillary Clinton used an opportunity last week to again call attention to the plight women around the world.
Clinton made similar remarks in an interview with World Ark magazine, which we published in our Holiday issue. Long a champion for women, Clinton acknowledged both in her speech last Thursday and in the interview with Heifer, that there are still great strides to be made before women and girls are seen as equals to men.
“As the mother of a daughter, and as someone who believes strongly in the right of every person, male and female, to have the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential,” Clinton said, “it pains me so greatly when I travel to places around the world and am received almost as an exception to the rule, where the male leaders meet with me because I am the secretary of state of the United States, overlooking the fact that I also happen to be a woman.”
“We are on the right side of history in this struggle, but there will be many sacrifices and losses until we finally reach a point where daughters are valued as sons, where girls as educated as boys, where women are encouraged and permitted to make their contributions to their families, to their societies just as the men are,” she said.
The speech followed Clinton’s acceptance of a humanitarian award given by Concern Worldwide, an anti-poverty organization.
I have to admit, I was skeptical. When I wrote and blogged about the second of the two stories on Ryan Bell, I fully expected it to take much longer before he reached his goal of raising enough money for a $25,000 Gift of Transformation.
But this remarkable young man proved me wrong. Again. Ryan reached his goal lofty goal late last week, and his Team Heifer page continues to bring in money. I’m truly grateful to have been able to tell his story; to have gotten to know Ryan and his family.
But the best part of all of this? Ryan isn’t done. He’s not satisfied with reaching his goal years before he expected to. When I contacted Ryan’s mom, Laura, last week, she was going to text him at school to tell him the news. He was thrilled, she said. Their conversation went a little like this:
Laura: “It made his day! So, that afternoon we looked up the new total and I said, ‘You know, at this rate you might be able to add a camel to your goal.’ You know my son by now… He said, ‘Mom, I think we should add an Ark!’”
Right now he’s more than half-way to reaching his NEW goal of adding $5,000 more to his remarkable total. If you want to help Ryan, you can go to his Team Heifer page and donate.
The horrifying story of a young woman who died after being brutally gang raped in New Delhi is putting inequality in India in the international spotlight. The murder of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey is spawning widespread protests and a push for major change to the chauvinism and oppression Indian women face.
The need for change became even clearer this week, as political and spiritual leaders continued to openly blame women for inviting assault by being out in public after dark or wearing skirts. And on Wednesday, a lawyer for three of the five men accused of raping and torturing Jyoti Pandey said Pandey and her companion were solely responsible because they were out together after dark, but were not married. Wow.
The moral argument for addressing gender inequality in India is clear. And surprisingly, the economic argument is clear, as well. A survey of 2,500 women in several Indian cities revealed that nearly 82 percent of the women are leaving work earlier since the infamous Dec. 16 attack to avoid being away from home after sunset. The survey indicates that one in three women in Delhi reduced their work hours or quit their jobs altogether to avoid making themselves vulnerable to attacks. This drop in productivity will only add to India’s poverty.
India is one of the world’s poorest countries when measured by per-capita income, and the country’s failure to invite women into the workplace and support them there is a major factor. Only 35 percent of Indian women work. Just think of the potential forfeited when millions of women opt out of the workplace.
Today is World Malaria Day, which might have slipped your mind. That’s understandable. The United States eradicated malaria in 1951, and unless you’ve done much traveling it’s probably never topped your list of things to worry about. But for half the world’s population, the 3.3 billion people threatened by the deadly mosquito-borne illness every day, malaria isn’t so easy to forget.
Malaria symptoms include fever, headache, chills, vomiting, anemia and respiratory distress. Children infected with the disease are extremely vulnerable because they haven’t had time to develop any level of immunity.
Malaria is a mean disease that preys on the poor and the innocent. In 2010, 90 percent of all malaria deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, the region of our planet that’s home to the highest proportion of undernourished people. Poor people with limited resources and limited access to health care often can’t afford housing with screened windows and doors to protect them from infected mosquitoes. And once infected, people suffering from malaria lose work days and the paychecks that go along with them, deepening their poverty. This is a handicap faced by countless Heifer project participants who can find themselves incapacitated by malaria multiple times each year.
Most deaths from malaria claim children under the age of 5. That means that every single minute of the day, a child dies of malaria. Pregnant women also face heightened risk.These numbers will knock the breath out of you, but luckily they’re better than they used to be. Malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25 percent since 2000. And with continued use of mosquito nets and insecticides, the hope is that the disease will continue to loosen its grasp.
The theme for World Malaria Day 2013 is “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.” The disease still kills 660,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization. But not everyone agrees on the numbers, and in fact, the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation puts the death toll at 1.2 million per year. I know that number will be stuck in my head for a while.
Happily, we know that bed nets, insecticides and improved housing can slow or stop the spread of malaria. We also know how to treat it. It’s just a question of resources. If, after reading this, you’re having a hard time getting malaria off your mind, visit the WHO’s World Malaria Day 2013 website to learn more.
“Families hold societies together, and intergenerational relationships extend this legacy over time. This year’s International Day of Families is an occasion to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family. It is also an opportunity to reflect on how they are affected by social and economic trends – and what we can do to strengthen families in response.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for 2013
When Heifer International measures the impact of its projects and programs, it doesn’t just count individuals. Gender and Family Focus is one of Heifer’s Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, and the family unit is central to our work. In fact, we count on strong family bonds and the cooperation that comes with them. Family members are invested in each others’ success, even when they know the fruits of that success won’t be reaped until they’re gone.
“I have seen whatever I would like to see in my life, I don’t need anything more for me. Everything is for my grandchildren,” explained Tsovinar Davtyan, 67, a grandmother of four in the Armenian village of Tekhenik. She cares for her family’s cows because she knows the benefits will last for generations.
May 15 is the United Nations International Day of Families, and this year’s focus is on fostering inter-generational solidarity. That’s a challenge for families in the Philippines, Bolivia and other places where job opportunities are few so young people set off to find opportunities elsewhere. This is where Heifer steps in, helping to build agricultural opportunities locally to keep families intact.
Click here to support a family in need through Heifer International.
TERRIER ROUGE, Haiti—Two large U.N. helicopters swooped in last weekend to North Coast Development Corporation‘s farm in northeast Haiti for a visit by President Clinton and a delegation of executives key to agricultural development in Haiti, including Heifer’s President and CEO Pierre Ferrari.
The farm is especially close to Heifer’s heart as we work with operator Andy English and owner Ann Piper to offer Heifer training in beekeeping and animal health care. The farm will also build one of three purebred commercial goat breeding centers as part of Heifer Haiti’s $18.7 million REACH project to strengthen the crop- and livestock-based livelihoods of more than 20,000 vulnerable farming families throughout the country.
“If you really want to change something in this country that currently has very poor quality animals, you have to invest long-term,” said Country Director Hervil Cherubin. “We’re developing our own high-quality centers to improve the quality of animals throughout Haiti and reduce imports from the Dominican Republic.”
Ferrari agreed. “What we’re doing is addressing the problem immediately and with scale. It’s not just a pilot project. We’re building a system that creates value for everyone in the chain.
“It’s slow, you don’t see it right away,” Ferrari said. “But in 10 to 15 years, we can look back and measure the difference in quality and income and economic value created by this project. Many of the complaints about organizations working in Haiti is that they don’t stay long enough to make any real change. Heifer has been here for more than 20 years, and we’re investing in structural change and the long-term success of Haitian agriculture.”
The Clinton Foundation noted that the weekend tours to farms and factories, and related dinners and conversations, were to highlight a variety of Haitian agricultural products and businesses and explore how the government, international community and private sector are finding new opportunities to foster growth and investment in the agricultural sector in Haiti. The foundation also announced more than $700,000 in grants to support small farmers.
In a wrap-up speech at the Heineken plant in Port au Prince that announced that company’s $40 million investment and commitment to local sourcing of sorghum for the brewery, Clinton thanked Ferrari and Heifer International by name, in addition to others in the delegation, for their contributions in Haiti. He also reinforced the rallying cry of Haiti’s President MIchel Martelly that “Haiti is open for business.”
“This has been a great day,” Clinton said in a press conference at the brewery. “One of the great debates that I hope to see favorably resolved while I’m still alive is whether the world population can go to 8 or 9 billion or wherever it’s going, and we can deal with the challenges of climate change in a way that enhances and empowers smallholder farmers instead of throwing them off their lands with the pipe dream that large-scale mechanized farming can solve that problem. It will be a disaster if it happens.
“We wouldn’t be in the fix we are in today if all the world’s economic powers, including the international organizations, had not made a decision somewhere around 1980 to simply stop supporting smallholder farm agriculture in developing countries,” Clinton said.
“We are trying in Haiti to establish a laboratory to prove that farmers are smart everywhere, they know how to protect their land and make the most of it and all they need is organization, inputs and support.”
President and CEO Pierre Ferrari, in Port au Prince, Haiti, for an agricultural investment tour with President Bill Clinton and 19 other key players in development, met Friday with the Heifer Haiti staff for the first time in the office that just opened last month.
Staff from all three offices, including some who have been on the job only a couple of weeks, came together for introductions and brainstorming on how to work together as the Haiti REACH project powers up to help thousands of farm families throughout the country in the next five years.
“One of the things Heifer is most proud of is represented in this room,” Ferrari said to the assembled staff. “Look around and it’s all or mostly Haitians. If you go to our Kenya office it’s the same; the work is being done by Kenyans. It shows what the soul of this organization is, that we believe in and invest in the people in the countries we serve.”
Ferrari will spend several days meeting with and touring agricultural investment sites linked to Clinton Foundation work, including a visit to a North Coast Development farm on Sunday that will showcase a planned Heifer goat-breeding center as well as bee and honey operations.
Editor’s note: Empowering women is at the core of Heifer International’s model for sustainable development. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, this week we are sharing stories of the women with whom Heifer works, who take the gifts of livestock and education to produce extraordinary results for themselves, their families and their communities.
Article by Katya Cengel, photos by Geoff Oliver Bugbee, who recently traveled to Armenia for World Ark magazine.
TEGHENIK, Armenia—Tsovinar Davtyan doesn’t remember her mother. Her
father died when she was 13. She wasn’t going to lose Seryozha, so she
married him at age 15.
“Who would let this kind of guy go?” she laughs, gesturing toward the
quiet man beside her.
She is 67 now, with spiky white hair and tanned and leathery skin.
Seryozha is 70. He remains silent while his wife does the talking, often
answering questions in a way that leaves her audience laughing. During
Soviet times Seryozha drove a tractor on the kolkhoz, or state
collective farm, and Tsovinar cut hay. In 1964 they built the four-room
stone house they now share with their son, Maksim, his wife, and their
three grandchildren. In winter the only warm room is the main one, which
is heated by a wood stove.
Tsovinar turns the apples into vinegar and cans the other vegetables to
last them through the winter. She also turns milk into cheese for the
family’s consumption and to sell. When asked how long it takes to make
cheese, she smiles mischievously.
“It depends on my mood,” she says. “If I’m in a good mood, it takes me
three hours. If I am in a bad mood, it takes one and a half.”
Tsovinar is usually in a good mood. Her family was one of several chosen
by Fuller Foundation to receive an interest-free home repair loan.
Heifer Armenia partnered with Fuller to provide cows to loan recipients
so they could have a source of income with which to pay off their loans.
Tsovinar’s home has yet to be repaired, but she received her cow, Sona,
in 2009, and has already passed on one of its calves. She has one other
cow and two calves and generates about $100 a month through the sale of
cheese. The money is put toward university expenses for the two oldest
grandchildren. The youngest grandchild, Harutyun, is only one, 14 years
younger than his next oldest sibling. He was an unexpected surprise his
grandmother calls “our great victory”. Everything she does now is for
“I have seen whatever I would like to see in my life, I don’t need
anything more for me,” she says. “Everything is for my grandchildren.”
When asked whether she could use new shoes she replies “let my
grandchildren have new shoes.” But standing outside her small home, with
its leaky asbestos roof, she does have one request.
“I am still waiting for my roof.”
Tomorrow (Friday) morning, Heifer President and CEO Pierre Ferrari will travel to Haiti to meet up with President Clinton and 19 other representatives of organizations and corporations investing in Haiti to tour exciting new projects in agriculture across the country.
The Clinton Foundation states in its invitation that it has been working with the Government of Haiti and partners on the ground to help facilitate economic growth and job creation in a variety of priority sectors. The Haitian government has identified agriculture as key in these efforts as it holds strong potential for job creation, improved livelihoods, environmental recovery and food security.
“Revitalization of the agricultural sector is a critical component of the country’s long-term strategy for recovery,” the document says. “Development and the opportunities for growth and diversification are clear.”
The weekend trip is an opportunity to explore new opportunities to foster growth and investment and to also acknowledge efforts already in the works, such as Heifer International’s partnership with North Coast Development Corporation. The partners are launching a solar-powered drip irrigation project focusing on food production with the organization SELF, and will include one of Heifer’s goat breeding centers as part of the Clinton Global Initiative commitment REACH project to introduce better breeding stock, using sturdy Creole goats, into area communities. The project also includes an orchard of fruit and nut trees, sisal production and beekeeping and associated products.
The Clinton-led group will visit this project as part of the tour on Sunday, in United Nations helicopters.
Stay tuned for updates in the next week about the opportunities and relationships at work in this Clinton Foundation tour. Filmmaker Craig Renaud and World Ark writer Donna Stokes will be along for a few of the events and conversations to share details about this exciting opportunity for Heifer’s work in Haiti.
Samvel and his wife Narine live with their two children and Samvel’s mother in Shikahogh village, Armenia. Before becoming participants of Heifer Armenia’s Kapan Cattle Breeding Project, the family survived by selling the cheese Narine prepared from their five goats. After Heifer provided Samvel with a pregnant heifer, he rebuilt the family’s old barn to provide better conditions for the animals.
Samvel and Narine said the pregnant heifer brought the family out of extreme poverty, and they are thankful for the fresh source of curds, butter, cheese and matsoun (Armenian yogurt). The couple intends to develop a small family farm after Passing on the Gift® of their heifer’s first calf. Their new self-reliance has brought hope to their family and their neighbors.
Editor’s note: February 20 is the World Day of Social Justice. In honor of this day, we bring you a portrait of extreme poverty in Rwanda.
Frank is severely malnourished, dehydrated, feverish and coughing. We discover later that the cough is most likely due to tonsillitis (a small relief, as pneumonia was first suspected). He lives in Bugusera District, Eastern Province of Rwanda. My co-worker Leigh Wood and I have met Frank and his parents on a trip to document the need for Heifer’s work in this beautiful, hopeful country. This is a slightly different trip for us: we are in areas of Rwanda where Heifer does not currently operate, but hopes to soon. We are here to capture images like Frank’s. And we realize that the few stories we will capture are but the tip of the iceberg.
There is no food in Frank’s house. In fact, there’s hardly anything at all in his house. It’s a mud-and-stick structure about as big as most Americans’ dining rooms. There’s a dirt floor, a low wooden bench and a straw mat for sleeping. The sun shines through the holes in the wall as lizards scamper along the framework. Rwanda is an incredibly green, lush place, and vegetables will grow where they are planted in Frank’s yard. But the land has been handed down and sub-divided to the point where the family’s only plot for growing is about as big as the tiny house itself. He has not eaten today. Yesterday? Maybe, maybe not. His father drinks what little money comes in, and his mother tends their few plants as well as she can.
Frank’s mom gets him the mile or so down the road to the Rango Health Station where he is examined. He receives some juice and antibiotics. When we return to his house to continue filming, the difference is amazing. He has perked up, is talking and even walking some, a tad unsteadily. The village children turn out in scores to watch the muzungus (white people) and their cameras. At one point, Leigh pulls away from us, and I see her wiping her eyes. At that moment, I realize that Frank is almost the exact same age as Leigh’s baby boy at home in the States. A lump forms in my throat as I watch Leigh regain her composure and proceed to gleefully entertain and distract the dozens of children. (She is amazing to watch in this occupation.) I think to myself “the lump in my throat will go away. I know this. The hunger Frank feels will not.”
I’m struck by how little it took to snatch Frank from death’s door. A little nutrition, some medication. And how little it would take to change this family… this village… this district… this country. That’s why Heifer is here. That’s why we’re here, Leigh and I, to give witness to this solvable problem. We have seen scores of families and villages like Frank’s. We talk to the parents, play ball with the kids, entertain them across a language barrier and ultimately realize they’re not that different from us.
Can we make a difference in poverty at this scale? After seeing what so little can do for such dire circumstances as Frank’s, I’m convinced we can. What slight discomfort we might feel allocating the resources to make a difference will go away. But unless we do, the hunger won’t.
Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from an outgoing Heifer International intern, Lesley Waterson. If you are interested in becoming an intern with Heifer International, please contact email@example.com.
Friday was the conclusion of my internship with Heifer International. Since April 2012, I have been working closely with Heifer’s USA Country Program. I received assignments on a wide range of topics, which included internal management of Heifer USA’s documentation, investigation of state legislation to support local food, and research on direct sales avenues for local farmers. Seeing the newly renamed USA Seeds of Change Enterprise (SOC) evolve throughout the course of my time at Heifer has provided valuable perspective, and I am truly grateful to have worked with a team of passionate and creative individuals.
The shift in direction that SOC is taking will no doubt offer Heifer a plethora of new opportunities. With a strong entrepreneurial spirit, SOC will eventually lead to building relationships with food sector businesses and has the potential to play a larger role in how Americans get their food. But where does this process begin?
Poco a poco se anda lejos. English translation: “Little by little, one goes far.”
This is one of my favorite Spanish proverbs. To me, it means that success comes slowly and with deliberate steps. If we want to build a successful social enterprise for Heifer’s domestic farmers, we need to start small, create a strong cooperative model, and move toward expanding the market from there. One of the ways to start small is to establish a handful of direct markets. Direct markets (i.e. farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture [CSAs], online local buying programs) offer small- and mid-scale farmers a consistent and viable income. Products sold directly to consumers give farmers a higher profit margin than if they were to sell to a retail or wholesale supplier. (See http://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/depts/midatlantic/FactSheets/direct_mrkt.shtml for more information). Direct markets also side-step tedious bureaucratic processes and establish more wholesome relationships with the farmers’ clientele. Hopefully these relationships will help farmers to feel a strong sense of pride in both their products and what they are doing for the community at large.
In the research I completed on direct sales avenues, it seems that there is a growing trend of incorporating workplaces as a place for farmers to connect with new potential consumers. What’s more, workplaces offer a beautiful chance to incorporate health insurance benefits to employees. Many companies with workplace CSAs or food share programs have provided payroll deduction options and even discounts on health insurance premiums for employees who participate. These options make participating in direct local food programs all the more attractive.
Here are the perks in a nutshell:
Because these workplace CSAs and food share programs are still gaining ground, the hardest players to convince about the employee health benefits are the health insurance companies. But even this obstacle is slowly being overcome. Today there are a few examples in which health insurance companies are following suit in promoting local food. For instance, Fairshare CSA Coalition—based out of Madison County, Wisconsin—has created a rebate program ($100 for individuals and $200 for families) to support employees who want to buy local food. The rebate program is managed by four insurance companies—not the businesses where employees work. Since the program’s inception in 2005, rebates were claimed for 75% of all coalition CSA shares…a whopping 28,000 rebates in total. Check out http://www.csacoalition.org/ for more information.
With the changing climate of the healthcare industry and high obesity rates in the U.S., preventative health care measures will begin to play a larger role in our lives. This makes for an ideal time to involve local food and farmers.
Let me not simplify the difficulty in developing direct markets. Implementing such a program will require a lot of time, patience and energy. It will demand a detailed and flexible planning period. However, countless articles and trends point to a growing demand for local food. The more we—as consumers—vote with our dollar in supporting locally sourced food, the bigger the message that sends to our government’s leaders to modify how subsidies are divvied up among farmers. The pendulum of where our food comes from is slowly swinging away from the globally sourced commodity crops and is shifting towards a more centralized food system. I look forward to seeing where the local food scene goes next!
It is with bittersweet feelings that I conclude my internship with Heifer. It will be sad to leave all of the lovely employees and friends I’ve made who work at Headquarters, but the time that I’ve spent here has been overall an excellent experience. I look forward (and with great anticipation) to seeing how Heifer progresses—especially with such a colorful program like the Seeds of Change Enterprise.
We thank Lesley for her time here and wish her all the best in her future endeavors. If you are interested in becoming an intern with Heifer International, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
After Hurricane Sandy ravaged Haiti, Heifer Haiti began recording its losses to apply for assistance to aid victims in the southern region. Heifer International immediately approved funding for alimentary (nutritional) kits and seeds for project families.
As of January 31, Heifer Haiti reached its goal to provide 410 families with alimentary kits. The project also distributed to participants about 3,400 pounds of black bean seeds and 850 dozen banana rhizomes. The project will continue with seed distribution and also hopes to distribute corn, pigeon bean, peanut, pimento and sweet potato seeds.
Overall, Heifer Haiti plans to assist 1,196 families affected by Hurricane Sandy; as of January 6, the project has reached 855.
ASCHILEU, Romania—Ioan Copacean is animated when it comes to his water buffalo.
“My water buffalo is the best,” he says.
He does not have money to rent a tractor, so he cuts grass by hand to be turned into hay for the animal. Together with his wife, Ildico Gombas, he rebuilt an old mud brick shelter so his water buffalo can stay protected from the elements in the hills of Northern Romania where they live.
In past, Copacean found day labor jobs and even a short-term cleaning position, but his dream is to build his water buffalo herd to 18, like his neighbor, a man who has 18 cows. His first water buffalo was given to him by Heifer Romania in 2010 as part of a larger revitalization of water buffalo project that aims to reintroduce the hardy, milk-producing animals to villages where they were once common. So far, the program has provided 36 water buffalo to the community. The program also includes an artificial insemination component to help with breeding.
With only one buffalo at present, the milk it produces goes to his three children, Ildico, 10, Ioan, 8, and Dennis Daniel, 4. His oldest, Ildico, was born with a growth on her eye which he has been told should be examined by an eye doctor. But the family lacks the funds needed to see one. With more water buffalo will come more milk and hopefully more money to pay for a visit to the eye doctor for Ildico.
Longtime Heifer International supporter Susan Sarandon wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal this past Sunday. Having narrated the 2011 documentary “After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands” (watch clip on our YouTube channel), Sarandon remains interested in the wellbeing of coffee farmers and the connection between Heifer and fair-trade coffee vendor, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Read the full text of Sarandon’s article here.
Read previous posts on the Thin Months.