This weekly post shines a light on a handful of stories from Heifer.org’s “From the Field” section.
Heifer International project participants work hard every day to Pass on the Gift® (POG) they once received and transition from recipient to donor. Sharing their success often brings participants joy and a commendable cause to celebrate.
In March and April 2013, Heifer Cambodia self-help groups (SHG) organized seven POG ceremonies. More than 820 families shared gifts of livestock, vegetables, tree seeds and rice with new project families. During one ceremony, POG recipient Chea Sambo responded with gratitude to her donor family, “Words cannot express how happy I am to receive the gifts. I promise to take good care of the animal and improve my garden so that I can pass on to other needy families, and become a donor like your family.Thanks much to your family and to Heifer.”
Heifer Cambodia participants Pass on the Gift® of chickens during an April 2013 ceremony. Photo by Toeng Rothy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Heifer Cambodia.
Armenian YES! Youth Clubs gathered to celebrate the past year’s activities during the 10th Youth Parliament General Assembly, April 26-27, 2013. Thirty clubs shared about their projects, which were mostly focused on civic participation and responsibility, and the success of their small businesses. Vardouhi Torosyan, a 13-year-old jewelry-making business owner, said she was able to pass on her seed money of $100 to another club member so he could also start a business.
Heifer China participants prepare to celebrate after a POG ceremony with a Tibetan Guozhuang (bonfire) dance. Photo by Droma Sangmo, Tibet Regional Project Manager, Heifer China
Beneath snowy mountain peaks, farmers in Tibet applauded each other during a wintry April POG. Participants from Dan Nu, Xue Ba and Zhi Ba villages passed on a monetary fund worth about $37,342 to Xu Ba village. Three candidates were distinguished among their community for modeling exceptional behavior and a traditional Tibetan Guozhuang (bonfire) dance ended the celebration.
This weekly post shines a light on a handful of stories from Heifer.org’s “From the Field” section.
Poverty does not always look the same everywhere. With guidance from Heifer International’s Genuine Need and Justice Cornerstone, project participants and partners continue giving back to those who most need it. From Passing on the Gift® to gala fundraisers, Heifer shines when people work together to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.
Manamaya Nepali and her son with their family’s goats. Photo courtesy of Heifer International
After she received two goats from Heifer Nepal, Manamaya’s family began the journey from recipients to donors. Animal Management training prepared her for the hard work ahead and paid off when the family’s income increased after selling goat meat. Manamaya has already given back to her community by passing on two goats to another family.
Heifer Uganda was recognized as the 2013 Best Anti-Poverty Organization in Uganda for their investment in bettering the nation’s goods, services, worker’s rights, international practices, environmental protection and daily operation standards. Communities are being transformed through sustainable development as Heifer Uganda staff actively pursue positive change. The award affirms Heifer’s dedication and credibility to many.
The first Heifer Charity Gala in China raised about $96,500. Photo courtesy of Heifer China
Heifer China supporters raised about $96,500 during the Heifer Charity Gala on March 23, 2013. An auction, celebrity performances and donations contributed the the evening’s success. Mao Zhenghua, chairman of Heifer China’s Advisory Council, shared how Heifer is giving back to make profound changes for the nation’s families and communities.
With the funding provided by Heifer, Tuerdi — who with his family has a small farm in Yarkant Village, Xinjiang, China — had bought a cow of a fine breed, and with his painstaking care it had been raised into a rather large animal. However, Tuerdi was in a great anxiety, for the cow had never been in heat during the past several months. With the help from the Heifer project community facilitator, Tuerdi got in contact with the local animal husbandry bureau. After examining the cow, the vet told Tuerdi that the obesity of the cow may have prevented her from being in heat. He advised Tuerdi to transfer the cow to a more spacious and cooler place where the cow would be able to move around for some exercises. Following this advice, the cow was really in heat after a while. Tuerdi was so excited that he could not wait to phone the veterinarian to mate the cow. Now that one month has passed, Tuerdi is waiting for the miracle with high expectations.
The the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Tuerdi and his wife fasted in accordance with the Uighur’s custom. For their children’s health, they bought five kilograms of meat and slaughtered three chickens and three ducks the family had raised. All of these foods were enough for the children. In addition, the four Bada wood trees and an acre of walnuts (of high quality through grafting) began to bear fruits, resulting in a total of 15 kg of Bada wood and 5 kg of walnuts. Although the gains are not very much, Tuerdi is very pleased to see that their work is finally paying off, and he says he will save these fruits for his family instead of selling them.
Tuerdi is also looking for additional ways to increase his income. Soon, his one acre of corn will be harvested. He hopes to use the corn stalks as forage. And he will grasp another chance to realize another plan: the season of cotton harvest season in South Xinjiang is coming soon, and many Shache farmers would earn money through picking cotton in other places. Because there will be no one left at home, they will sell all their sheep. The price will fall and Tuerdi plans to buy the sheep to increase his flock from 10 to 20. After a while, when price of these sheep is better, he will sell them all to earn some money. He believes that through his effort, his life will be much better in the near future.
The past three months, Pite Niuniu has continued to work in another city, away from his small farm in Zhaojue County in China’s Sichuan Province. Nonetheless, the family had a fairly-good harvest: 1000 kg of corn, 600 kg of wheat and 1500 kg of potatoes. The production of potatoes is of half of last year’s due to insufficient sunshine and too much rain.
Pite Niuniu's wife, Azhe Zuotu, shucks corn.
This past quarter new born piglets were sold, which gave the family RMB2400 Yuan (US $385). The price of this quarter is not so good, but the family needs the money to prepare for the Yi ethnic minority’s celebration of the New Year.
Azhe Zuotu feeds the family's pigs.
The weather has become quite cold at this time. People have begun use fire to keep warm.
It started becoming chilly when we made our latest visit to Wang Qinghua’s house. Wearing red a shirt, dark blue pants and cloth shoes, she was busy serving guests at her small restaurant.
Qinghua stands in front of her restaurant.
The life of her family is changing with the help of Heifer International.
Her calves, which were born in April to three cows, are well cared for, and her restaurant is also running well. By Sept. 15, her restaurant had earned 30,000 yuan (about US $4,800), half of which has been spent on daily expenses and her son’s tuition, and the other half will be spent on investments and her son’s college savings. Since Qinghua’s family income has increased, their nutrient intake has also been improved: they can now have some meat once or twice a week instead of only once a week as they did before. Because they have a garden, they also have enough fruits and vegetables.
When the training of cow raising and bean planting is done, Ms. Wang’s family registered a marketing course and learned how to find market information. Now with the help of the computer they bought, they can learn the value of their farm products in order to bargain, and even look for buyers directly.
Qinghua's family's cattle.
In terms of community work, the workshop Qinghua has joined always holds discussions and communications on bean plantation skills and sale information. In order to sell more vegetables, she and others founded Deli Vegetables Plantation Cooperative, which has solved the problem of finding buyers by centralizing their purchasing and selling. With the dogged efforts of this group, a 220 square meter office building and a 600 square meter facility for their cooperative have both been constructed. In addition, the harvest of beans has brought 2 million yuan (about US $321,000).
“By joining the Heifer program, my family and I had the opportunity to go out. We have seen more and we have learned more. We are passionate to do something,” Qinghua says.
In our last post about Chang Julan and her family, we told you about the significant setback suffered by these Heifer China project participants when seven of their sows became pregnant, but one of the sows had a difficult pregnancy and died, taking with her at least 10 unborn piglets.
In the months since then, the family’s sows had 40 piglets, and Chang Julan sold 11 porkers at a price of 6.4 RMB/jin (US $2.03/kg). This left the Changs with five porkers in their possession. Although the selling price was low, the Chang family was successfully supporting themselves and hadn’t lost any money. Recently the selling price went up to 7.5 RMB/jin (US $2.34/kg), so Ms. Chang decided to raise all 40 piglets for pork, calculating that she’d be able to accrue a fine profit.
Piglets on Chang Julan's family farm.
There have been a few changes to the Changs’ house since our last report: they used stone to fix up a pond and a clothes-washing platform. Running water and the solar water heater both have been installed and are used often. The bathroom and showers also are in good order and are rather convenient.
The Changs had a good corn harvest
This year the Changs planted 4 mu (about 6.5 acres) of paddy field, and Ms. Chang estimates they will be able to harvest 3,000 kg of rice. The Changs have already harvested their 3 mu (about 4.5 acres) of corn, which produced a total of 1,500 kilograms. To speed up the corn shucking process and increase efficiency, Ms. Chang bought an electric corn shucker for about US $32. The paddy fields had about one more week until harvest time, meaning the busiest season of the year was about to commence.
Chang Julan shares her plantation experience with a member of another village.
Chang Julan’s mother fell ill and was staying at the Longtan Township health center. Ms. Chang went to take care of her mother, which also delayed her harvesting progress by several days. In order to make the most of this busy rural season, Chang Julan went home and shucked corn into the night. Ms. Chang’s son started school in September, and the total tuition and living costs added up to more than 2,000 RMB (US $317.31). Her husband is currently working as a laborer.
On August 20 Ms. Chang and other members of the Mutual Cooperation Group were interviewed by fellow member An Xian. Then on August 26, she and 10 other members went to Yuanba District’s Dachao Township to participate in another interview.
For farmers in Baishui Village, Kaili, Guizhou Province, September is a harvest season. Although the rice harvest is tiring, everyone felt delighted. Zhang Hui didn’t plant any rice, but his vegetable plantations gained a good harvest, and the 30,000 kilos of corn he harvested will provide sufficient feed for his poultry.
Zhang Hui is gradually expanding his pheasant rearing operation to include chickens. By selling 400 natural breeding chickens and 50 pheasants from July to September, he earned 9,000 yuan (about US $1,400). Now he is still raising 2,500 pheasants and 200 natural breeding chickens. He and his wife told us, “After selling these chickens, we prepare to use the money to build coops. 20 coop shelves are planned to be built to raise roosters, as roosters raised in coops are better and can be sold for a greater profit. If this works, I am going to add 20 coop shelves next year.” (A coop shelf has three layers and every layer can be placed with 15 coops. Each coop can only be used to keep one rooster, as roosters will fight with each other if kept together. Fighting will cause the loss of feathers, affecting the sales of roosters. Moreover, it’s easy for them to be infected with bacteria.)
Zhang Hui and his family are raising natural breeding chickens alongside their pheasants.
Though busy, everyone in Zhang Hui’s family is beaming a warm smile. Zhang Hui is planning to learn to drive and buy a car, while his wife and children are preparing the materials used to build coop shelves and corn feed for the chickens. They also want to invite farmers in the village to teach them how to make leather shoes. By constructing an assembly line of leather shoes processing, they want everyone to make money together.
The newly-built hen house
When we were about to leave Zhang Hui’s house, he gladly said, “I have completed Passing on the Gift ahead of time. My daughter ranked first again in her class. I am very thankful for Heifer’s support. I will continue developing my chicken-rearing career and pass the chickens to more people.”
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.
This year, summer seemed to come slowly in China’s Sichuan Province. The weather remained like that of the early spring — more chilly rain and cloudy skies. After recently giving birth to a healthy baby girl, Pite Niuniu and Azhe Zuotu’s family has grown to six members now: the couple and their four children. This Heifer China Liangshang project family will rely on a sow, five fattened pigs, one horse and six geese; potatoes, buckwheat, corn, kidney beans and some rice grown in the family’s own paddy to support them with their day-to-day expenses as well as their children’s tuition.
Azhe Zuotu feeds the family's geese
Pete Niuniu’s wife, Azhe Zuotu, is the Heifer project Self-Help Group (SHG) member. In the past three months, she participated in all the trainings and community events, which included one swine raising technology training, one grass planting training and one HIV prevention training; two Heifer 12 Cornerstones trainings; one community trees planting event, one dancing event and six community hygiene events. Azhe Zuotu is becoming more confident and likely to talk with others.
Azhe Zuotu feeds some of her family's pigs.
The happiest thing in the past months is the sow giving birth to nine piglets. The family will raise the piglets to 2-3 months of age, then sell them in the market in order to earn extra income. The family is expecting a good market price, although they still need to spend some money for the piglets’ feed.
Earlier this year, Tuerdi paid a visit to Turpan. It was not his first time to visit this city in China’s Xinjiang region, but this was his first time to visit as the farmer representative of Heifer China’s Shache project.
Tuerdi's notes during his visit in Turpan
Heifer began working in Turpan early in 1989, and many local project farmers walked out of poverty by taking part in Heifer’s programs. Some of them even became animal rearing experts, and some community self-help groups developed into cooperatives. During his four-day visit, Tuerdi made detailed notes about the advanced livestock rearing technology and concepts he saw.
“What I learned here is very valuable to share with other farmers in my village,” Tuerdi says. “I will participate in Heifer projects with more initiatives and at the same time encourage more families to join Heifer.”
Heifer China's country director Chen Taiyong with Tuerdi
Heifer China’s country director, Chen Taiyong, also joined in the visit. When he heard Tuerdi’s son, Hasanjan, won “Three Good Student,” he donated RMB 200 Yuan (about US $32) to Tuerdi for buying books and stationery for Hasanjan.