For the people of Sayon in the southern Philippines, a typhoon was a new and terrible experience. So when Typhoon Bopha ripped through their small village in December, most were unprepared. Many people there lost their homes and livelihoods, which for Heifer project participants, that meant seeing livestock and crops wash away. In the May edition of World Ark, which is in mailboxes this week, you can read about Heifer’s work in the aftermath of the typhoon, and how we are implementing Disaster Risk Reduction training so that people can take steps to mitigate the effects of future natural disasters.
Or you can read about what it’s like to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, which is exactly what writer Kelly MacNeil did as part of a team with employees from Heifer partner Elanco Animal Health. The team collectively raised more than $8,000 for Heifer with the climb.
As always there are gorgeous photos and intriguing infographics to peruse as well. The page-turner edition is a great way to view the magazine, but don’t forget to check out World Ark’s app on the iPad and Android tablets, too.
Heifer’s World Ark magazine received an honorable mention in the min Best of the Web awards.
The tablet edition of World Ark magazine has received recognition from one of the publishing industry’s top awards competitions. At the min Best of the Web awards in New York City yesterday, Heifer International was awarded an honorable mention in the digital magazine category. Other finalists in this category include Ebony, Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Popular Science and WIRED.
Heifer was one of only a handful of nonprofits at this elite industry awards event that brought together such publishing leaders as Time, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, Better Homes and Gardens, and The Huffington Post. min, short for Media Industry News, is a resource for magazine and media professionals to learn about the latest trends in the field. The Best of the Web awards are the industry’s top honor in the digital space, recognizing outstanding Web sites and digital initiatives among consumer and b2b magazines.
World Ark launched its digital tablet edition in November to much acclaim. Heifer was the first development nonprofit to launch a digital publication app, and the World Ark app has been featured as the App of the Week on the Adobe blog and on Mashable.com.
“The World Ark team is so pleased to be selected for an honorable mention in the Best of Web awards in a category with such respected and groundbreaking digital publications,” says Donna Stokes, World Ark editor. “We are hopeful that our from-the-field story-telling, cutting-edge design and professional photos and videos of Heifer’s transformational work continue to reach greater audiences. We thank the judges for recognizing our potential and encourage all to spread the word about our quarterly publication.”
Ever since we received a letter about Ryan Bell almost three years ago, we’ve known there was something extra special about him. He hasn’t had the easiest go in life, but he’s never let his differences stand in his way. And despite his hardships, Ryan has always wanted to make life easier for others.
As a 10-year old, Ryan convinced his family that they really could be doing more with their annual penny auction fundraiser that benefited both Heifer and a local charity. He just wasn’t satisfied with the amount they were able to donate.
In the past two years, with the help of his family, friends and his community, Ryan has raised nearly $40,000 for Heifer International. And he just doesn’t quit. When Ryan reached his lofty goal of raising $25,000 for Heifer just before Christmas of 2012, his first thought was that he should go for another Gift Ark, or $5,000 more. When he reached THAT goal, he immediately said he wanted to go for $50,000.
Ryan Bell shows off the certificate he received indicating he was nominated for the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program. Ryan’s teachers nominated him for his work fundraising for Heifer International among other volunteer endeavors.
His giving spirit hasn’t just captured the attention of those of us here at Heifer, either. Laura Bell, Ryan’s Mom, just let us know that Ryan’s team of teachers at his school in Connecticut recently nominated him for the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship.
That scholarship is given by the retailer every year to recognize “young volunteers across the country for their amazing contributions to their communities,” the Kohl’s website says. The criteria for the scholarship indicate that volunteer efforts must have occurred in the last year, and that winners are selected based on the benefits and outcomes of their volunteer service.
With Ryan’s record of fundraising, and his reputation at school as a Student of the Month and as part of the Student Government group where he’s organized other fundraisers, his team of teachers put together the nomination form and essay and submitted it on Ryan’s behalf.
“He was too funny,” Laura said. “The six teachers called him into a room which was otherwise empty. He said it looked like he was in trouble and they joked with him that he was and then presented the certificate. He was so excited!”
Laura said there are winners at the local, regional and national level, but Ryan won’t find out if he’s a winner of the local scholarship until May.The regional winner will be announced in June and the national winner in July. Prizes range from a $50 gift card to the store up to a $10,000 in scholarship for National Winners.
Whatever the outcome, we’re proud just to know Ryan. It’s an honor knowing he’s our supporter, and is sharing our mission with others. So good luck, Ryan! We’ll be anxiously awaiting to hear whether you’ve been selected for the scholarship. You should know you’re already a winner to all of us here at Heifer.
Next Wednesday, January 23, I’ll be departing for the Philippines. Like we told you last month, I’ll be traveling there to report on the rebuilding efforts after the damage caused by Typhoon Bopha last month.
Photo By Nacho Hernandez
I’ll be going to to Sta. Josefa where at least 366 families in two projects were significantly affected, with homes damaged or destroyed. More than 250 pigs were lost, as well as 90 goats. Rice, corn and banana crops were significantly damaged, and initial estimates from Heifer communities place damages at $550,000.
I hope you’ll check back in on the blog periodically, as I intend (depending on connectivity) to blog while there about the families affected by the typhoon and also about Heifer’s Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction program, which helped our project participants prepare for the typhoon.
In the meantime, you can give to Heifer’s Disaster Rehabilitation Fund. While Heifer is not a first responder, as part of our program work, we help our at-risk communities prepare for the potential impact of disasters. Even so, natural disasters often overwhelm a community’s ability to respond. Our Disaster Rehabilitation Fund is a pool of money that can be accessed by country offices affected by disasters that exceed their ability to cope.
Ryan surpassed his $25,000 goal on December 14. He's currently at $27,705. Let's help him get to $30,000.
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.
Rehabilitation work is underway in the Philippines to help Heifer International project participants begin the long recovery from Typhoon Bopha, which struck the southern island of Mindanao on December 4, 2012.
Elmer Negros and his son, building a makeshift cabin in the place where their house used to stand. His wife watches while washing all the clothes that got soaked during the Typhoon Bopha. Their house was totally destroyed by the typhoon. Photo by Nacho Hernandez, courtesy of Heifer International.
Philippines country staff has asked Heifer International for $50,000 in immediate disaster rehabilitation funding to help provide short-term food relief and materials to repair homes and a feed mill, such as tin for the roofs and raw feed ingredients for surviving animals.
At the headquarter of HEED, Heifer's local partner in Santa Josefa. Staff and volunteers preparing bags of rice for distribution to the families that have nothing to eat as a consequence of the Typhoon Bopha. Photo by Nacho Hernandez, courtesy of Heifer International.
On Saturday, representatives of the federation of self-help groups (SHGs), organized by Heifer Philippines country staff, met with HEED, the local partner, to discuss and schedule procuring and distributing supplies to help families who were affected. For Heifer, 366 families in two projects in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur, were significantly affected, with homes damaged or destroyed. More than 250 pigs were lost, as well as 90 goats. Rice, corn and banana crops were significantly damaged.
A banana plantation, destroyed by Typhoon Bopha. Photo by Nacho Hernandez, courtesy of Heifer International.
The groups also met with representatives of Save the Children and World Vision to help coordinate rehabilitation efforts and food supplies. Heifer regional staff plans to meet December 21 in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur, with the SHGs and HEED to discuss longer term rehabilitation planning.
Florita M. San Miguel, a Heifer participant, with her pig and recently born piglets. They were born right after Typhoon Bopha hit Santa Josefa. Photo by Nacho Hernandez, courtesy of Heifer International.
Between today and December 23, Hercules Paradiang, Heifer Philippines country director, and his team, will work with the SHGs and HEED to secure, repack and distribute food and roofing materials for repairs. Then, between December 21 and 24, members with carpentry skills and others will be divided into groups to help repair and rebuild homes that were damaged, as well as distribute and help prepare food as needed.
Ariel Alcantara, a neighbour of Santa Josefa, in front of what remains of his house. It was almost destroyed by Typhoon Bopha. Photo by Nacho Hernandez, courtesy of Heifer International.
Between December 26-29, crews plan to reconstruct the feed mill warehouse, and then on December 30-January 2, 2013, to purchase raw materials to put the feed mill back in operation by January 2, 2013. Between January 8 and 10, 2013, Heifer Philippines staff, along with the self-help groups and local government units, will provide Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) workshops to five Heifer project communities.
The workshops, which help families prepare for and endure emergencies and disasters, had been planned for December 4-7, but was canceled because of Typhoon Bopha’s assault on the island.
Heifer International plans to send a World Ark writer and photographer to the Philippines in late January to visit the impacted area and report on the families, as well as ongoing CMDRR efforts across the country to better prepare families for disasters such as Bopha, lessons that can be shared with other Heifer International communities in high-risk areas around the world.
Nicholas Mwakabelele took the spirit of Passing on the Gift to the extreme by giving tens of thousands of fish fingerlings away to his neighbors, including a blind man who once asked for a handout. Photo by Dave Anderson, courtesy of Heifer International.
Aquaculture, or the raising of fish under controlled conditions, accounts for half of the world’s food fish. In Heifer’s aquaculture projects, participants receive the gift of fish fingerlings and training in farming techniques specific to their area of the world. Such a gift very quickly improves family nutrition with the lean healthy protein of fish such as tilapia.
Plus, it’s easy to sell fish for income so families can achieve financial independence and Pass on the Gift of fingerlings to empower entire communities. One of Heifer’s most inspiring stories of Passing on the Gift comes from a fish-farming project in Mambi village, Tanzania, where Heifer participant Nicholas Mwakabelele (above), was the first in the area to become successful at fish farming. He often got requests from neighbors who wanted to buy a few fish for dinner, but when he met neighbor Wailos Nzalayaluma (below), both of their lives would forever change.
Disease blinded Wailos Nzalayaluma before he could finish school. He is now able to provide income for himself and his mother through fish farming. Photo by Dave Anderson, courtesy of Heifer International.
Wailos is blind, and he asked Nicholas to give him a few fish for his family’s dinner. But Nicholas had a better idea. Instead, he helped Wailos build his own fish pond and then donated fish fingerlings to him so he could grow his own and never be hungry again. The two continue to work side by side as fish farmers in the community. Read their full story here in Heifer’s World Ark magazine.
Heifer currently supports 63 aquaculture projects in 10 countries including Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, Haiti, Estonia, Thailand, China, Philippines, Cambodia and Tanzania.
This post is part of our What to Give series, where we’re helping you choose the best Heifer gift for your loved ones. Read previous What to Give posts here, and subscribe to the What to Give series here.
Heifer International continues a long streak of innovation by becoming the first development nonprofit to offer a full digital magazine—the World Ark you’ve always loved—available in a free download on iPad or Android tablets.
You’ve likely already received your print edition of the Holiday 2012 World Ark, but as of today, there’s more content and features to love on your iPad or Android tablet. The print issue will continue to be available to Heifer supporters with no interruption.
For this premiere tablet Holiday issue, extra features include:
A welcome video by Heifer’s President and CEO Pierre Ferrari;
Video of women in Bangladesh celebrating during a Pass on the Gift ceremony from photographer Geoff Oliver Bugbee as well as a video glimpse of how the Arkansas Chuggabugs traveled around the world to raise money for Heifer;
A spectacular digital catalog featuring favorite alternative gift items including the gifts of women’s empowerment, sending a girl to school and cookstoves to improve health and the environment;
Interactive infographics including how women build clay cookstoves in Malawi;
An extra review of poverty- and hunger-related courses you can take for free on your tablet from iTunesU;
The latest news from the field on an interactive world map;
The World Ark digital magazine will appear quarterly in spring, summer, fall and holiday. It was created with the help of digital design experts Bates Creative Group using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite platform.
The World Ark print edition got its name in 1994 with an issue celebrating Heifer’s 50th anniversary. The magazine’s predecessor, Sharing Life, started in the mid-1970s.
Heifer supporters no doubt have already received this year’s version of The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World in the mail or have visited the catalog online to begin to choose alternative holiday gifts such as heifers, goats, tree seedlings and honeybees to send to families in need around the world.
The first issue of World Ark in 1994 celebrated Heifer's 50th anniversary.
Innovation has always been a part of Heifer’s history. Did you know that Heifer’s gift catalog is more than 45 years old, with the first versions of an alternative gift catalog emerging in 1966? Many organizations have since copied our catalogs, but it’s easy to identify the original, labeled The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World.
World Ark magazine, which includes the gift catalog, has been around since 1994, with previous incarnations going back to the mid-1970s. This holiday season, we are so thankful for our loyal donors who return year after year to honor family, friends and co-workers with life-giving gifts of prosperity and health to be shared far and wide.
Stay tuned this holiday season for the announcement of more exciting innovations at Heifer International that aim to help us share Heifer’s unique approach to ending hunger and poverty in exciting new ways.
Thank you for keeping Heifer families around the world in mind this year as you embrace the spirit of the giving season.
Article and video by Chris Kenning, World Ark contributor
Bung Kriel, CAMBODIA—The son of subsistence rice farmers, Chom Thoun grew up in a thatched-roof home on stilts, in a childhood marked by war with the Khmer Rouge, illnesses from poor sanitation and months of hunger each year when the family’s small harvest ran out.
“Our family was very poor, sometimes we didn’t have rice to eat,” said Chom, speaking recently on a shaded bamboo bed under this home, tucked among the rice paddies of Svay Rieng, one of the country’s poorest provinces located near the Vietnamese border.
The fighting had ended by the time he entered his 30s, and he had started a family with five children. But as he hand-plowed the same rice paddies, life was still a daily struggle. Relying on rain-fed rice grown in poor soil on small plot, he did not having enough to feed his family through the year. He was often forced to leave his wife, Toeu, and children to work as a laborer in the city.
While the now 40-year-old farmer still lives in a home without electricity, running water or plumbing, his fortunes have improved significantly in recent years with the help of a Heifer International’s self-help group program that he entered in 2007.
Speaking through an interpreter a few weeks ago on a World Ark visit, Chom said Heifer provided a cow, vegetable seeds, fruit tree saplings and training on how to keep animals and crops healthier by adopting changes such as adding mosquito netting to an animal shelter.
He also joined Heifer’s self-help savings group made up of villagers contributing small amounts for low-interest loans. That allowed Chom to start new vegetables and sugar cane, which they sell at market. In addition to passing on the cow’s offspring to another family in need, Chom also earns money by treating sick animals in the village, a skill he learned through Heifer.
“My life before was hard,” he said. “My living conditions improved; I could buy a bike so my daughter could get to school.”
He said their annual income has more than doubled from $200 a year to $500 a year, allowing them build a new home out of wood with a tin roof. There’s now enough food all year round, because they were able to buy more land for rice. And, fish, eggs or fowl—once a rare treat—are now a nearly daily part of their diet. They even have a small TV powered by a car battery.
They’re just some of more than 8,800 vulnerable Cambodian families that Heifer has helped since 1999 in a country long battered by war and extreme poverty.
Heifer’s programs currently operate in 188 poor rural communities, where they aim to increase food security, incomes and well-being by providing help such as animals and seeds, farmer education, microfinance and a more recent effort to boost basic literacy and math skills.
In Bung Kriel village, home to about 86 families and located in a province known for its low-quality farmland, child malnutrition, illiteracy, distance to markets and health care, and legacy of heavy U.S. bombing in the 1970s, it’s been a huge help, village leaders said.
“It has helped (bring) change for many families,” said Sek Ouk, Bung Kriel’s 69-year-old village chief.
Look for more about Heifer Cambodia projects in upcoming issues of World Ark magazine.