In a slight departure from our traditional Heifer's Heart, we have instead an essay written by Todd Fogle, our summer intern on the Communications team, reflecting on his time spent with us.
Everyone can make a difference to end hunger and poverty.
As an undergraduate student studying journalism and Spanish, I wanted to find a way to use my skills to raise awareness of hunger and poverty. In my senior year of college, I began following Heifer’s job openings by email, hoping that one day there would be an opening in communications. I knew a little bit about the mission and how Heifer carried it out. Little did I know I would get an email around March from a professor announcing a summer internship position at Heifer for a journalism student.
I have learned a lot since I began in May. I was able to practice writing and editing in a professional setting. Other things, such as video editing, I learned for the first time. Although these skills are important, there are even more important lessons that I learned.
A Raised Awareness
I thought I knew what poverty was before beginning my internship. I knew there were children in the United States who went to bed hungry, children in Africa who died of hunger-related causes and that when traveling in a big city it was not uncommon to see a homeless person. After beginning my internship, I realized that the issues of hunger and poverty are much larger than this.
As part of new employee orientation, new staff assumed the role of a fictional character in one of our project areas. I drew the card of having a fifth-grade education and a family of eight. After paying rent, taking care of my chickens, ducks and water buffalo, buying medicine and replacing the roof, my family had $3 each day to buy food.
This is a reality for many families around the world. I recently read a story about a Thai family of four who earned no more than $1 each day. Eventually they became project participants in one of Heifer’s local projects and received three piglets and training. These gifts can completely change people’s lives, not only bringing them out of hunger and poverty but also changing their lifestyles.
Several stories I have seen highlight this change in lifestyle. A family member once regularly took what little money the family had to go drink or gamble. When Heifer came to their village, people were skeptical at first, fearing they would be pushed to convert to another religion or have their savings taken from them. Eventually participants learn that Heifer International is there to help them and their lives are transformed.
Working together will make a difference in ending hunger and poverty.
I don’t get to interact with the people who are most affected by Heifer’s projects around the world, but I read about the differences being made in their lives almost every day. Most weeks we receive about 11 field stories reporting the positive impacts in our projects around the world. All of Heifer's work and impact would be impossible without the support we receive from donors who fund the projects, those who help raise awareness about Heifer and the staff members who make sure everything gets done.
Everyone has different talents that can help end hunger and poverty. Some work well in the farm setting, with plants and animals. Others are good at speaking and raising awareness. Some work in the field getting the resources to those who need them. Everyone working together, doing what they can, puts us one step closer to ending world hunger and poverty.