Heifer's Work in Mexico
Mexico has roots that extend into some of the most infamous civilizations known to man, the Aztecs and the Mayans. Mexico was conquered and colonized by Spain in the early 16th century. Administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for three centuries, it achieved its independence early in the 19th century.
Today, Mexico is still a major nation of influence in the Americas and the world. Mexico has the second largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Latin America and is the 13th largest economy in the world. Nevertheless, wealth is unevenly distributed and there is a very large income gap between the poor and wealthy. Ten percent of the wealthiest population earns 40 percent of the country’s resources while poorest 10 percent of the population earns 1.1 percent of the resources. Additionally, half of the population lives under the poverty line, with one-fifth of the population living in extreme poverty (under two dollars a day).
Wealth is unevenly distributed in Mexico, and there is a very large income gap between the poor and wealthy. One-fifth of the population is living in extreme poverty (under two dollars a day).
Mexico is also a very diverse nation. Mexico contains the second largest population of indigenous people in Latin America. It is second only to Peru, home of the ancient Inca civilization. Geographically, Mexico’s diversity is outstanding. Ten percent of all species on Earth are in Mexico. Conservative estimates indicate that over 200,000 different species are native to the country; worldwide, only India and China have greater vegetation diversity. This puts greater emphasis on environmental preservation of resources in the region.
In 1955, Paul Stone began Heifer’s work in Mexico, distributing a large variety of domestic animals for genetic improvement. In 1977, a working relationship was established with the Methodist Church of Mexico through missionaries Terry and Muriel Henderson and their organization (Proyección Humana Mexico). They opened an office in the city of Puebla. Over 15 years’ collaboration with Heifer, they implemented projects in 21 states, established relationships with 18 NGOs and two governmental agencies. Moreover, during that time, the Hendersons managed to deliver 10,000 animals to the same number of families.
In 1994, Heifer acquired its own legal status under the Mexican Government. Since then and through 2003, work focused on northern Mexico, in the states de Durango and Chihuahua, under the general oversight of Agricultural Technical Schools.
To date, Heifer Mexico has helped rural families in 23 states with over 3,000 farm animals, mainly pigs, sheep and dairy cattle.