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All around the world, participation in Heifer projects is a family affair. Children help keep animals clean and fed, and they often provide the lion's share of affection, too.

Is there anything sweeter than a 12-year-old boy who hurries home from school each day to feed and pamper his beloved cow, Esta, whose milk brought his family the money to build a decent home? I met this boy, Lubega Matia, in Uganda last year. An AIDS orphan, he was taken in by a struggling couple with four biological children and one orphan already. Luckily, their Heifer-provided cow made a huge difference, bringing them good health and comfort. By keeping Esta's pen spotlessly clean and her feed bin full, Lubega makes sure the family returns the favor. Here's a shot of him with one of his family's goats.

Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

Pretty great, huh?

Below are photos of other children like Lubega, who happily help care for their feathered and fuzzy Heifer animals around the world.

Photo by Hilary Duffy

Boys in Namitpitan, the Philippines, take a break and splash in the irrigation canal between rice fields on their way home from school.

Photo by Jake Lyell

Anasthasia Stepanuk hugs her goose in Polozhyvo, Ukraine.

Photo by Jake Lyell

Emilia, Victoria and Anna Soroka enjoy milk from their Heifer cow in the Shatsk district of Ukraine.

Photo by Jake Lyell

Wang Yin Ping, 10, cuddles with her rabbit in Yu Chi village, Bei Yuan Township, China.

Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

Channel Cyuzuzo, 6, of Kibungo District, Rwanda, poses with her cow she named “Superbness.” Channel is one of 12 children in her family. Seven of the children are AIDS orphans the family took in.


Austin Bailey

Austin Bailey is a writer and editor for Heifer's World Ark magazine.