If you’ve been to the grocery store, your local drug store or nearest big-box one-stop, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the Valentine’s Day goodies out in full force. We’re getting ready for the year’s sweetest holiday here at Heifer International, too.
Still searching for the perfect last-minute gifts for the people on your list who have everything? Heifer International has a thoughtful and easy way to show you care: charitable gifts of animals and resources that will help families around the world lift themselves out of poverty.
Photo by David Snyder, courtesy of Heifer International.
Last-minute gifts don’t have to be hasty and impersonal if you choose to give a goat, a llama, or perhaps some chickens. These animals will to help boost a hungry family’s nutrition, and products like milk, eggs and wool can be sold for income that will pay for school and health care.
Your gift recipient gets a beautiful honor card describing the benefits of the donation made in their name, and you get the satisfaction of having given something far more meaningful than a gift card.
Image courtesy of Heifer International.
Ganga Khanal in Nepal experienced the power of a Heifer International gift. She had been rejected by her husband after she failed to produce a son. Despite his opposition, she joined a Heifer International women’s self-help group and received goats and training. Today she helps lead a women’s cooperative and run the co-op store. Her son now says, “The future looks bright for us because of our mothers.” A gift of $72 to Heifer International can help start another women’s self-help group.
Photo by Jake Lyell, courtesy of Heifer International.
Heifer International’s “Most Important Gift Catalog in the World” is full of life-changing animals, and premiering this 2012 season, we have exciting new gifts like biogas stoves, clean water, and the gift of education for a young girl in need. With so many options, the Heifer gift catalog has everything you need to give the perfect gift.
Oh, just a hilarious video of some Ecuadorian sheep, an animated infographic explaining how agroecology works in the field, a recipe for Filippino bibingka and a slideshow of some of the cutest animals we’ve ever caught on camera.
Like this Peruvian alpaca…
Photo by Dave Anderson, courtesy of Heifer International.
Want to see more adorable Heifer animals? Click on the cute alpaca, then!
On Heifer International’s Christmas Wish List, we want you to look at Christmas gift-giving from a different point of view. From a sheep’s-eye-view, actually.
These guys are marvelous – they provide wool and manure for rural families, and even meat and milk in some cases. And the sheep will tell you all about it in this Heifer Christmas video shot in Ecuador.
The sheep — they actually look like goats to me, but I’m assured that they are recently-shorn sheep — required a translator for the “baaaa”s, but Heifer took care of that for you. See what the sheep have to say, and then consider purchasing a sheep as part of your Christmas shopping.
Happy Thanksgiving! The Thanksgiving holiday has many meanings to people all over the country. What is Thanksgiving to your family? Do you spend time sharing what it is you each are thankful for?
Photo credit: muffintinmom, used under Creative Commons license.
As a Heifer International employee, I am grateful for you. For Heifer donors, supporters, volunteers and participants everywhere. I want to say Thank You for helping us do the important work of ending hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.
If you’re feeling extra generous on this day of thanks, I’d like to encourage you to consider making the gift of a Boost of Nutrition so that another family can be as fortunate as yours. While many of us are feasting, nearly a billion are going hungry. Today, you can do something to help.
Uneducated women live a limited life. They have few personal choices about marriage, the number of children they will have and how their family will spend its money. Education for girls is a key element in fighting hunger and poverty.
Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
Due to their marginalized status in many areas of the world, women’s movements are often restricted to the home, and they are not welcome to participate in making personal or community decisions. Their husbands dictate their lives. Their lack of education coupled with their low status severely limits income-generating opportunities. Moreover, their social subordination places them at a high risk for domestic violence, and if they become widows or their marriage ends, trafficking.
People in many places still believe spending money on sending a girl to school is pointless. And if she is lucky enough to get to go, when income is limited, the family often will stop her schooling in favor of spending the money on her brothers’ school fees. When half of the population isn’t fulfilling its potential, the entire community suffers.
“Before joining the group and attending the literacy class, our family had never drunk boiled water,” said 37-year-old Kan Nai Ky from the Strey Tbong Pich women’s group. “Our house was not hygienic, as we had never cared about waste around our house, and there was no sanitation inside the house. Since studying the literacy book on improving the environment, we know the importance of good hygiene, sanitation and the environment. Now we always boil the water before drinking.”
Imagine if these women had learned to read when they were girls. What different lives might they have led?
One of our newest items in the Heifer International Gift Catalog is Send a Girl to School. The gift provides a family in need with training and livestock so they can earn the income they need to pay for their daughter’s school fees and supplies. Education for girls is one of the surest ways to break the cycle of poverty and dependence in a community.
Universal Children’s Day is Today
Celebrate this Universal Children’s Day by changing the future for a girl. This holiday, created in 1954 by the United Nations, works to benefit the interests of children by limiting long-work hours and increasing access to education.
Only one week left to prepare for Giving Tuesday! Are you ready? Need a little inspiration? Check out this special Heifergraphic.
Heifer International has been a trailblazer in the alternative gift giving market. Our model is simple, yet it has a profound impact on the millions of families we serve each year. This resonates with shoppers and gift recipients alike. We are excited to participate in the inaugural Giving Tuesday, and I hope you will participate.
Get your family and friends in on the Giving Tuesday action, too. Tell them about your plans while you’re gathered together this week.
It’s been 391 years since the harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims, which would become the Thanksgiving holiday we now know, took place. Community and gratitude have taken on additional meanings since that time. In preparation for this week, I’d like you to consider this question: What is Thanksgiving without giving?
Families often go around the Thanksgiving dinner table, telling what they are thankful for that day. We give thanks. But how can we give back?
Cangas Simeon of Haiti. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
Here’s a brief testimony from one of our Heifer International participants in Haiti:
My name is Cangas Simeon, and I am 29 years old and live in Ferrier, a section of Pestel. I am a member of the Youth Organization for the Development of Pestel.
Today I want to express my happiness and gratitude toward Heifer staff. I am a poor person, and I am not ashamed to let you know that. Since I was a little boy, I never had the possibility to buy four goats. When I get some produce from my garden, I sell some of it and eat the rest with my family. Time to time I will buy one or two goats or sheep, but I have never been able to buy four.
Today I have more than that, and soon I will have more. I plan to follow the principles that Heifer taught us so I can Pass on the Gift to someone else. I plan to have more than 20 goats in order to improve my living conditions. I know I will be successful one day and I will be able to take care of my entire family. I plan to not only pay the tuition fees for my children, but we will also have the opportunity to eat more meat and get more protein.
Cangas is a man who is truly grateful. He doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but he certainly has the answer to what is thanksgiving. He finally has the opportunity to provide consistent nutrition for his children, and he looks forward to giving back to his community what he has received through Heifer’s Pass on the Gift model.
Photo credit: Wendi Gratz, used under Creative Commons license.
Because most of us have never had to know what it’s like to be newly grateful for the gift of nutrition, it can be hard to relate. But I think what we can relate to is being so grateful for what we have that we want to give some of our abundance to others in need.
And that’s my challenge to you this Thanksgiving: When you’re going around the dinner table, listing what you’re grateful for, ask your family to also say how they plan to give back this year. Ask them: What is Thanksgiving without giving?
Heifer International’s way of giving plans for the long term. We give hungry families the power to feed themselves every day, through training in sustainable agriculture and living gifts of livestock. Our Boost of Nutrition package in the Heifer Gift Catalog has everything a family needs to be healthy and happy: seeds to grow fruits and vegetables will provide vitamins and minerals, chickens provide daily protein from eggs. The training that’s part of every Heifer project ensures that these are not hand-outs. These are gifts that will last indefinitely.
Providing a Boost of Nutrition to a family in need is a great way to give back on Thanksgiving, or anytime at all.
Philanthropy happens around the world. Photo by Russell Powell, courtesy of Heifer International.
From the Association of Fundraising Professionals website:
What makes philanthropy so special is that no one is required to give of themselves. There are no national laws or regulations which mandate that you must volunteer or get involved. Philanthropy is so powerful and inspiring precisely because it is voluntary—that through the goodness of our hearts, through our need to connect, through our desire to see a better world, we come together to improve the quality of life for all people.
On National Philanthropy Day®, charities around the world thank you for your support. Your involvement—whether it’s mentoring, volunteering, giving, staffing an event or showing your support on social media—makes philanthropy possible, and makes National Philanthropy Day so special and meaningful.
One of the unique things about Heifer International’s model is that the generous gifts of our supporters – you, the philanthropists – empower our project families to themselves become philanthropists. Yes, it is a project requirement for our original beneficiaries to Pass on the Gift of livestock and training. But the voluntary continuation of Passing on the Gift is seen in nearly every one of our project communities. Infected by the spirit of philanthropy and enabled by their improved economic status, families who once required charity become charitable givers. It’s one of the most remarkable signs of transformation we see in the field.
Are you looking to help someone on your holiday shopping list become a philanthropist? Our Gift Catalog item, Launch a Small Business, is a great motivator. Helping a family start or grow their small business will enable them to have more stable household incomes, as well as spend those incomes with other small businesses, further improving local economies.
Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
In June this year, the Hongyu Cooperative, part of Heifer China’s Earthquake Rehabilitation Project, opened a store to sell pastured chickens. With help from Heifer, the cooperative was so successful at improving the production of pastured chickens that there were quickly about 40,000 chickens on the market, driving prices and profits down. To solve this problem, the cooperative began to make careful production plans and implement market development initiatives with more help from Heifer.
This year, 12 cooperative members decided to invest in opening a store to sell their own chickens, connecting the product directly with the customer and eliminating the middlemen. At the store, the price per pound for pastured chickens is about $2.02, instead of the $1.73 per kilogram previously paid by middlemen (a 17 percent increase). The monthly revenue of the store is about $636. Lin Fengchen, director general of the cooperative said, “The sales of our store are quite good, so we are planning to open another one within this year.” The excellent performance of the store is due to the high quality of its products and the value-adding services provided by the store. These results prove that smallholder farmers can benefit from efforts in business development and other activities that upgrade the product along the value chain.
This story is just one of many where training and agricultural inputs from Heifer – a result of philanthropy here – transforms small farmers into successful businesspeople.
Today is World Kindness Day, which is relatively un-celebrated here in the United States. What a shame, too. We could all use a little extra kindness, don’t you think? I still remember, back in high school, being made to do a Random Acts of Kindness project. At the time I thought it was ridiculous, having to log my daily acts of kindness every day for a month. As an adult with a wider view of the world, I now see the value.
Image by electric.porcupine, used under Creative Commons license.
What greater acts of kindness could you make today than to donate to a struggling farm family through Heifer International?
The gift of a Family Farm Care Package will help a family boost the productivity of their farm, helping them grow more food for their family to eat and sell.
Anna and her children with their calf. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
The family of Anna Gharzaryan and her husband, Aram Karapetyan of Armenia received a pregnant heifer from Heifer Armenia and the Armenian Missionary Association of America’s joint program. Their children, Hasmik, Hayastan and Hovhannes named the cow Nargiz. Before joining the project, the family was struggling. They didn’t have livestock, and they didn’t have the money to buy one, despite both parents working hard. Because milk and dairy products are an important part of their children’s diets, the couple was forced to purchase dairy products from the neighbors.
Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
It’s been a year and a half since Nargiz the cow came to the Karapetyan family. Her first calf, Samara, has already become a nice heifer and will be passed on to another family in the community next year. This year a bull calf, named Bzho, was born. He is as nice and clever as his mom and sister. Nargiz’s productivity has further increased with the birth of Bzho. Last year, she gave more than a gallon of very tasty milk each day. Now, she is producing around two gallons per day. The family no longer has to spend their small income on dairy for the children, and with time and additional training, the family’s productivity and income will increase further.