Mother’s Day is approaching, and that means it’s time to show our mothers and grandmothers our appreciation for the care they’ve given us. Many people find that a Heifer donation is a very special gift, especially since it will empower mothers around the world trying to support their families.
Mothers everywhere want what is best for their children. That’s why it’s important to honor our moms by extending greater opportunities to women struggling to get by. Simple changes can have huge impacts; women in the developing world could regain 200 million work hours every day if they all had access to clean water in their homes.
Heifer International Mother’s Day gifts like of a flock of chicks, clean water or a healthy home can bring transformative benefits for a family in need. Faith Onyango’s family, for example, was trapped in crushing poverty in a Kenyan village with her husband and three children before Heifer arrived. She was struggling to feed her children and their home was a crumbling mud brick hut.
But then, because of an individual’s donation, Faith received a heifer and training in organic farming from Heifer International. The cow’s manure helped increase the family’s corn harvest fourfold. With their new earnings, Faith sends her children to school and has built a new, safe house. She has now Passed on the Gift of her cow’s first calf to a neighbor.
Heifer International provides Mother’s Day gift honor cards that explain to gift recipients the impact a gift of livestock can have for a family in need.
With $1.9 billion spent on Mother’s Day flowers each year, Heifer International believes that donations to help families around the globe are the most meaningful – and impactful – Mother’s Day gifts available.
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.
It’s the time of year when many of us are scrambling to find the right Christmas presents. (It’s eighteen days away, but who’s counting?)
You can make Christmas shopping more fun, though, with our new online experience, called “Heifer International’s Christmas Wish List.” It lets you and your family explore the joy and the meaning behind gifts of animals and other resources to families in need.
The Wish List has videos, photos from the field, fun facts and an interactive storybook for kids. It’s a great reminder that the spirit of the season is one of brotherhood, hope and generosity. Giving a Heifer International animal as a Christmas present is a truly meaningful way to honor your loved ones, since every gift helps families in poverty and hunger by providing nutrition and income-generating products.
Heifer’s Christmas Wish List is your shortcut to gift ideas that have transformative benefits for the people who receive them. You can watch a delightful “sheep’s-eye-view” video to learn about the benefits of donating a sheep, or find a special Christmas recipe from the Philippines that reinforces the importance of nutrition. You can also see the impact of Heifer International’s work with women in India, where wives are getting help with housework from their husbands for the first time.
We’ve made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday is the time to do your holiday shopping in a way that really gives back.
A gift from Heifer International is meaningful for everyone involved. Your friends, family and colleagues alike will be honored to receive gifts from Heifer, whether they’re goat lovers or tree huggers. You’ll know that you’ve not only done something special for your recipient, but also for our global community. And the ultimate recipient – the Heifer project participant family – will reap the benefits of your gift for years to come. Best yet, that gift will keep on giving as our participants Pass on the Gift to another family in the community.
Surfing the web, looking for Cyber Monday deals? Shop Heifer International’s Gift Catalog instead, and let your boss catch you browsing for a gift that gives back!
Our Cyber Monday Recommendation: Pigs!
Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee, courtesy of Heifer Inernational.
Pigs are the perfect, most interest-bearing “living savings accounts” for struggling families. They provide a valuable source of protein, income from selling offspring, and manure to nourish crops and soil.
Did you know?
Pigs can have up to 16 piglets in a litter.
Piglets usually double their birth weight in just one week.
Pigs thrive on crop and garden waste, saving fodder land and income.
Are you gearing up to go on the hunt for great Black Friday deals? Want to save yourself some trouble and avoid the trampling crowds this year? Ever thought about giving someone a goat?A goat is a great gift for anyone on your shopping list.
Heifer Has the Best Black Friday Deals
Okay, so we’re not running any discounts or BOGOs. That wouldn’t exactly be fair to our project participants. But I challenge you to find a deal on a gift at a big retail store that will delight your loved one AND change a hungry family’s life.
Aside from being my very favorite farm animal (why are they so awesome?), goats are the ultimate deal. Did you know more people in the world drink goats milk than cows milk? It’s no accident. Goats milk is easier to digest because its milk fats are smaller. Goats are also considerably easier to keep because of their compact size. Mama goats can have two to three goat kids per year for several years, which can be sold for profit or kept to quickly increase a family’s herd size.
But don’t just take it from me. Take it from one of our Heifer Haiti project participants:
Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
I am Deinage Pierre Gelerme. I am 54 years old and married with seven children: five sons and two daughters. Some of them go to school and some don’t. We don’t have enough money to send them all to school.
I received four female goats from Heifer. Two of them are pregnant. Not only did Heifer give me the goats, they also trained me on how to take care of them. I am taking good care of them now. With these goats, I hope to improve my life economically and feed my family better than before. I am very appreciative for the distribution of goats in my community. It is a good way to fight hunger and nutrition problems in the area.
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.
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.
Are you at a loss for what to give family, friends and colleagues this year? Tired of giving the same old thing?
What to give? Not this. Photo credit: TheUglySweaterShop used under Creative Commons license
Here’s my philosophy on how to know what to give for any occasion: If you know exactly what to buy – that perfect gift the recipient will definitely love and use – go for it. If you’re headed to the stores to hunt around for something your friend will, at best, marginally appreciate, give to charity instead.
Sure, you can Google “Gifts under $30″ and order your boyfriend a bearded ski mask or your sister a couch pillow that plays music from an iPod.
Or you could head over to Heifer International’s Gift Catalog online and pick out the perfect gift. A flock of geese, a goat or some honeybees show you care for your loved ones and want to honor them this holiday season with a gift that really gives back.
What to give? This! When you give through Heifer, your recipients will receive this year's beautiful Honor Card. Image courtesy of Heifer International.
For each gift of $10 or more, you can request an Honor Card for your recipients.
This year on the Heifer Blog, we’ll be highlighting many of our Gift Catalog items so you can get a deeper view of what these gifts will mean to the ultimate recipients: the impoverished families around the world, whose lives Heifer sets out to change. I hope you’ll follow our What to Give series and that you’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
Already know what gifts you’re giving this year? Tell us your favorite in the comments section below.
Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. We have recently begun mailing our Gift Catalog for this year’s holiday season and will be featuring activities, like how to make your own thermometer, that highlight the items available.
A new offering in this year’s catalog is the Community Animal Health Worker Kit. In many countries, access to veterinary care is limited, so Heifer International trains individuals to become Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) and teaches them animal health, husbandry, breeding, nutrition and housing. This kit can include a thermometer, stethoscope, hoof trimmer, scalpels, gloves, disinfectants and even important medicine.
CAHW and students. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.
A basic piece of equipment a CAHW carries is a thermometer. For today’s activity, you will learn how to make our own thermometer, and learn how they work.
Make Your Own Thermometer Materials:
Clear, narrow-necked plastic bottle (11-ounce water bottles work well)
Clear plastic drinking straw
Photo source: Energy Quest
Pour equal amounts of tap water and rubbing alcohol into the bottle, about 1/8 to 1/4 full. Add a couple of drops of food coloring, and mix. Put the straw in the bottle, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom. (Do not drink the mixture.) Seal the neck of the bottle and keep the straw in place with the modeling clay, so the straw stays in place.
Wrap your hands around the bottle and watch what happens. Just like a real thermometer, the mixture expands when warmed. This liquid no longer fits in the bottle, so it expands into and up the straw. If the bottle got very hot, the liquid would come up through the top of the straw.
Watch your thermometer throughout the day and see how the liquid changes. What happens if your thermometer is in shadow or in sunlight? What happens when it gets colder? How does wind affect the thermometer? Of course, you will need to a real thermometer that is carefully calibrated to get an accurate reading but this is a great way to see how it works.