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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 In a new environment with unfamiliar routines, she became withdrawn and quick-tempered.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."


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.