Tuerdi, his wife and their oldest son and daughter
by Heifer China
Tuerdi is 36 years old, living with his wife, his sister’s son, his three daughters and his aunt who is now 65 years old and cannot walk freely as a result of falling from the tractor twice. As many people as this family has, there are only two who can work. Together with the poor production from the field and animal rearing, this family has led a hard life in Yarkant, Xinjiang, China. This family has nine goats, two local brand cattle and two hens that provide one or two eggs, and often these animals cannot meet the needs from the children, let alone the needs of the entire family. The oldest boy never had milk and his body size is far smaller than other children his age. The oldest girl also has the same problem. The boy is now in junior school (first grade ), and he is the top one student in his class. His dream is to become a teacher if he has the chance to enter college. The girl’s performance in school is also quite good, and her dream is to be a doctor. Both of the children have the local pancake — which costs 1 RMB — as their lunch. At the beginning of this year, the Heifer Turpan project farmers went to Yarkant to promote Heifer program concepts, and Tuerdi is seeing positive changes after joining the program. The Heifer program provided Tuerdi with one good-quality simmental cross-breeding cow. Tuerdi actively joined in the program and took advantage of the chance to learn from the trainings and meetings. He holds a hope that through the Heifer program, his family could have a more stable income to improve them a higher living standard and better children’s nutrition. Editor’s note: This post is part of a new series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Initially, this series will focus on our programs in Asia/South Pacific, where our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates.
The front of Tuerdi’s home in Yarkant village, China
Chang Julan and members of the Heifer China self-help group in Fuxing Village help rebuild homes after the Sichuan earthquake.
by Heifer China
Chang Julan, with four other family members, lives in Fuxing Village, Longtan Township, Lizhou District, China — one of the Sichuan earthquake disaster areas. In the process of rehabilitation, they reconstructed the family’s swine facility and rebuilt their house. The family was in debt. Her husband, Yang Yongguang, did odd jobs to support his family, and that’s the only income the family had. What’s worse, poor health had been a perennial problem for his parents. Poverty hit the family.
After joining a Heifer project, Chang Julan became a part of a self-help group and received four sows and some farming materials. Through the self-help group, Chang participated in activities, and learned Heifer’s concept and 12 Cornerstones. In the meantime, she joined Fuxing Village Pig Breeding Association, in which she acquired skills of pig breeding and upgraded her pig facility through trainings she received. In the past three months, she received 13,000 Yuan income through selling more than 20 piglets. Moreover, by growing seeds provided by Heifer China, she grew corn, rice, peanut, sweet potato on 6 mu land. She made a harvest of 1,000 kg of corn and 2,500 kg of rice in September this year. She also educated children to be self-reliant and sent her care to elders as required by Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones.
With the help of other group members, Chang built a new house in early 2011. In addition, the local agricultural bureau granted allowance to build a biogas unit, and the government funded a drinking water project to solve human and livestock water issue. This Heifer project not only raised her family’s income, but also provided her opportunities to take part in the self-help groups’ cultural activities. The community is getting more harmonious than before and her family is living a better life. Speaking of the future, Chang wishes her son would study harder and her parents would become healthier. She also looks forward to getting a better harvest, more pigs and income to pass on the gift to other farmers.
In the video below, Chang harvests sweet potatoes, walks us through her upgraded swine facility and demonstrates her new rice milling machine.
Editor’s note: This post is part of a new series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Initially, this series will focus on our programs in Asia/South Pacific, where our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates.
Chang Julan in her newly-rebuilt home in Lizhou District, China.
Chang Julan’s family worked with a self-help group to build this new swine facility.
We’re four days into 2012. Have you kept your resolutions so far? Did you even make any? I personally am not much of a resolution-maker, mostly because I know I’m not much of a resolution-keeper. But I get the feeling that this year has a lot of potential. At Heifer, we work with communities around the world to help them find their best path out of hunger and poverty. In doing so, we help them identify their potential and take full advantage of it.
Did you receive a Heifer gift this holiday season? A Heifer heifer, perhaps? Here’s a quick story illustrating how Heifer China project participants have taken full advantage of the changes brought about from their gifts of heifers.
When the Hebei Community Holistic Development Project started in December 2009, there were 160 households learning advanced cattle breeding techniques from local Animal Husbandry Bureau technicians. Participating families increased their income while protecting their local environment. Before the project, the two participating villages had a combined total of 370 beef cattle. In 2011, just two years later, this number increased to 980. In this time, villagers sold 130 cattle, earning around $58,000. Driven by the impact of the project, villagers have dug wells, built roads, improved the conditions and quality of their lives, set up industries for processing toys and clothing, and have continued to develop new ways to diversify their income. Compared to their recent past, both material and spiritual aspects of life have greatly improved. The original families kept their promise to complete 100 percent Passing on the Gift, which they did in December, and which will result in more and more households who benefit from the original gifts of livestock and training.
I think a great challenge for any of us is to make 2012 the year of 100 Percent. What might that mean for you? What would your 100 percent be?
Pite Niuniu and his wife, Azhe Zuotu, in Zhaojue County, Sichuan Province China
by Heifer China
Pite Niuniu and his wife are living in Zhaojue County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The county is threatened by AIDS and abuse of drugs. The whole family is depending on farming potatoes, rice and buckwheat, plus pig breeding. They have three children who are all at school, a 15-year old daughter and 2 younger sons. The low production and larger expenditure lead the family to poverty.
After Heifer China came to the village, his wife Azhe Zuotu joined a Self-Help Group. Heifer China gave this family a sow, 4 pigs and some other resources. She learned the 12 Cornerstones, animal breeding management, disease prevention, prevention of AIDS and drugs, crop planting techniques, sapling planting techniques and principals of cooperatives. With the consultation of technicians, they built a new shelter with bricks and cement. In the past few months, the sow passed on 11 offspring, which made the family a 3,500 Yuan income. What’s more, thanks to the seeds provided by Heifer and the couple’s hard work, they had a great harvest consisting of 3,500 kg potatoes, 500 kg rice, 200 kg buckwheat and 1000 kg corns, plus some vegetables.
Azhe Zuotu has received a profound understanding about the mutual support offered in self-help groups; as a result, she started caring for people who need support and love. When the project began, the family received a donation of 4,200 Yuan; so far, they are going to pass 2,200 Yuan to the pass-on candidate family this month. They are planning to pass on an additional 2,000 Yuan in March of next year.
At present, with the help of the Heifer program and the family’s hard work, the household had more income, a better quality and a more harmonious life. They had a repaired shelter, a new biogas pit and a self-owned toilet. Speaking of the future, Pite Niuniu said, “Thanks to Heifer program, I could learn skills and be confident to our future. Thanks for the donors’ help. We are going to be all right.” He would like to redecorate the house; well breed the sow, and make his kids happy.
Editor’s note: This post is the first in a new series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Initially, this series will focus on our programs in Asia/South Pacific, where our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates.
The newly-constructed animal shelter Pite Niuniu and his fmaily built with help from Heifer China.
In China’s Sichuan Province, Training in Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development led to one woman’s transformation into a more peaceful and collaborative person.
Huang Yu, 47, is a mother to two children. She was born in a poor, remote village in Nanjiang County. The oldest of many children in her family, Huang didn’t have an opportunity to go to school until she was 10. Three years later, she dropped out in order to take care of her younger sisters and brothers. The circumstances of her upbringing made Huang very strong and stubborn.
At 20, Huang married a young man she had never met. In a new environment with unfamiliar routines, she became withdrawn and quick-tempered. She didn’t like to talk to others and was seen as proud. She had numerous quarrels and even fights with her neighbors, and it wasn’t long before Huang became the least welcome person in the whole village.
When Heifer International conducted several trainings in her village on the 12 Cornerstones, especially Gender and Family Focus and Full Participation, Huang learned many new concepts she had never considered before. Looking back on her life journey, she realized that having such a strong personality, combined with a lack of education, directly resulted in her family’s low income and miscommunication with others in the village.
Heifer China didn’t bypass Huang because of her personality or poor family. Instead, they considered her the perfect person to engage with and invited her family to be original project participants. Through Heifer’s trainings and Self-Help Group (SHG) activities, Huang gradually changed. She visited other SHG families, contributed to participatory discussions, and attended every meeting and training. Huang has become a totally new woman: passionate, peaceful and willing to help others.
Huang passed on the gift as she promised after two years. She now has 30 goats and earns $787 a year. Heifer not only taught her how to make more income for her family, but also made it possible for them to improve their living conditions with a new, wooden building.
At a Passing on the Gift® ceremony, Huang shared with others how Heifer International and project partners helped her change her narrow values and habits and improve her animal-rearing techniques. “Money alone cannot buy me respect or make me a generous and kind woman,” Huang said. “Heifer changed my values and my entire life.”
Mike Thompson, author of the upcoming book The Anywhere Leader, recently concluded a visit to Heifer projects in Nepal and China where he looked for examples of inspirational leaders among our project participants. While in China, Mike met one of Heifer’s greatest success stories — a man who’s come to be known as “The Rabbit King.” Mike does a great job of telling his story on the Anywhere Leader blog:
Just outside of Chengdu, China, lives the Rabbit King – and yes, he goes by that name. It was given to him by his community, which deeply admires him. The Rabbit King was extremely poor before Heifer International provided him with a few rabbits to raise. Those few rabbits turned into 12,000 rabbits in a little more than five years.
The Rabbit King enjoyed years of nurturing and growing his broad, but sadly, about three weeks ago, he lost all but 30 of his rabbits to a massive flood. I asked the him about the consequences of losing almost 12,000 rabbits and being forced to start over. “It’s back to poverty,” he said. I expected tears to follow that comment and his next statement to be something like, “What are my family and I going to do?”
Not the Rabbit King; he didn’t speak of desperation and despair, but rather of confidence and opportunity.
He was thankful for the 30 rabbits that were spared, and he was even more thankful that no one in his family or his community was killed in the disaster. He was surprisingly positive, even as he took me around his farm and showed me the devastation. Even though a plan wasn’t in place yet, his mind was focused on rebuilding.
Story Reported by Zhang Han, communication and networking officer, Heifer China. Photos by Zhu Wenjing, communication and networking officer, Heifer China. Video used with permission.
Melodious singing resonated from the Heifer project activity room in Fuxing Village, Lizhou District, Guangyuan City, Sichuan, China, as women of a self-help group (SHG) taught donors visiting from Hong Kong to sing the Song of Heifer, which the group members wrote and composed.
The SHG consists of 22 female project participants who established a chorus. Through singing, these women became more confident and willing to help others. “Heifer was brought into our community; we pass on our love to others with sincerity,” said one member.
During their visit, 25 donors from Hong Kong saw how the women and their families live and work to raise pigs and implement project activities. The donor group included children and adults. In the afternoon, donors helped with farm work. Some of them plowed a field for the first time in their lives. The experience, as well as the 95F heat, made an impact on each donor. They were students and ordinary citizens, demonstrating that benevolence is not only an obligation of the rich. If everyone contributes a little, Heifer can bring huge changes to people and families in rural areas.
On his Facebook wall, one donor wrote, “After a four-day visit, I do need to deal with loads of work. But I think I need to work harder to donate more to Heifer in the future.”
We all agree – global hunger is a big problem, and there’s a need for big solutions. Today, Elanco announced its commitment to end hunger for 100,000 families globally through a partnership with Heifer. Together, we’ll identify small communities in developing countries that could substantially benefit from the gift of an animal, as well as training in animal husbandry, health care and other practices.
Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company. At their Indianapolis-area headquarters today, Elanco’s president Jeff Simmons said, “We believe every person is born with the right to a hopeful future, and the right to be fed, but today, 1 in 6 people globally are hungry. More than 25,000 people die each day from hunger and malnutrition. That’s like 60 fully-loaded jumbo jets crashing each and every day.”
That’s a sobering thought.
Heifer’s CEO Pierre Ferrari was also on hand for the announcement, and he talked about the importance of a global network that will work in unison toward this shared goal. “This partnership involves more than just Elanco the company. It’s about the employees, too, and customers, the company’s entire network, working with us and with smallholder farmers to help them transform their own lives and futures.”
Already Elanco and Heifer work in Indonesia and Zambia, where we’re working jointly to establish local milk market outlets, improve production and conservation practices and train animal health workers. Today, Elanco announced it will partner with Heifer to work in the Hebei province of China, where more than 20 million families live on less than $1 a day. In that region, we’ll deliver the gifts of livestock and training to 800 families.
A whirlwind two-day trip through Heifer projects near Chengdu, China, took CEO Pierre Ferrari and other staff members to visit successful rabbit and pig projects in Dayi and Beichuan County, China, one of the most damaged areas from a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that killed about 70,000 people in May 2008, and displaced or otherwise affected 15 million people in the area.
Three years after the quake, participants at the Beichuan project site continue to raise Heifer pigs for nutrition and income and live in new homes rebuilt with government help. They say that Heifer’s values-based model has helped them maintain the solidarity that came after the quake when everyone shared what little they had and worked together to get through the disaster.
“Other NGOs come after a disaster and soon leave. There’s a deeper commitment here,” said Li Yong, a regional government representative and Heifer partner. “The Heifer project provides very important income for these families. It’s whole community development.”
A smattering of welcome fireworks, well-practiced dancing by a women’s group and the sharing of food and drink throughout the afternoon illustrated the uniting effect of the project. Heifer China staff members led the community in an animated discussion about the interrelatedness of Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones in a self-review and planning meeting.
“When I saw you working with the Cornerstones, I was thinking we should be doing the same back at headquarters,” Ferrari said in a speech to the participants. “It reminds me that when a project is over, it’s still important for us to stay in touch with the Cornerstones, to keep each other accountable.
“You had a terrible tragedy three years ago. It’s you who have rebuilt your community with commitment, sharing and caring, spirituality. You have made your community what it is today.”
In the video above, look closely at the faces of those who have a stronger, more connected community because of Heifer International projects. You may even recognize a couple of them, including Ren Xuping, dubbed the “Rabbit King of China” in a 1999 Wall Street Journal article, and his wife, Zhang Xuping.
Ren Xuping put the value of Heifer’s work in China well.
“I value most in life my many farmer friends. By Passing on the Gift I’m happy and we are happy together. If I only think for my own wealth then I am a lean tree standing all by myself; I cannot resist a strong wind. That is not good for social harmony for others to have to strain to look up at a lone, tall tree. Heifer helps us develop not just ourselves but also our community. It brings us all up together, a group of trees supporting each other.”
Photographer Geoff Oliver Bugbee recorded this view of Mount Everest and the Himalayas on his iPhone on a recent flight from Nepal to China during CEO Pierre Ferrari’s visit of projects in both countries. I took the still shot below.
The flight landed in Lhasa, Tibet China, before continuing on to the delegation’s final destination of Chengdu, China. Heifer has several projects in Tibet, some which offer yaks to help families improve their nutrition and income. For more information, go to www.heifer.org.
Check back here for a look at Heifer project visits in China in the coming days.