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by Heifer China

It was a sunny day when we visited Wang Qinghua’s family in Deanzhuang Village, Weichang County, Chengde City, Hebei Province. But the temperature remained -15 degrees Celsius, which prevented us from exposing our hands outdoors. Even in the house, the temperature was just above freezing.

Wang Qinghua (age 38) lives with her husband, Mao Jingjun (age 42), and her son, Mao Huanhuan, who is 17 years old. The couple also cares for four elders in the family. In addition, Wang Qinghua’s elder brother and her uncle are both suffering mental illness, so she also needs to take care of them. Life is difficult for her and her husband.

Through Heifer China, Wang Qinghua received two cows and some farming materials such as vet medicine worth 500 Yuan (about US $80). Each cow gave birth to one calf per year, and in the past two years, they sold seven cows with the income totaling 21,500 Yuan, or about $3,400. Right now, two pregnant cows are still in the barn. They upgraded the cattle barn with the government’s support of 10,560 Yuan (about $1,700).

Wang Qinghua and Mao Jingiun received soil fertilization training, and they fertilized the soil with livestock manure and improved the plantation varieties to get more income. Before the project, they only planted corn, but gradually they’ve brought in melon, potato and pole beans. At present, Wang Qinghua is producing 45,000 kg (about 50 tons) of corn, 3,000 kg (about 3 tons) of potatoes and 4000 kg (about 4 tons) of pole beans.

Heifer China also brought an infrastructure upgrade to this village. The government helped them build a main road leading to the county, through which villagers can transport their crops and vegetables to the bigger market. Wang Qinghua and other self help group members had a meeting and reached an agreement to purchase a motor tricycle to do transportation. As a result, the vegetables could be sold at a higher price and the profit has been increased. In December 2010, Wang Qinghua passed on a cow to her neighbor ahead of time. In June 2011, she completed her Passing on the Gift™ requirement by sending out another cow.

“If Heifer project hadn’t arrived at our village, we couldn’t definitely experience such a huge positive change on our life," she says. "I just want to spread Heifer spirit with my own effort.”

Wang Qinghua's son, Mao Huanhuan, went to the senior high school in September 2011. In the past three months, the family borrowed about $3,200 and opened a small restaurant. When planning the future, Mao Huanhuan wants to go to university to study engineering and become a repair engineer. For Wang and her husband, they dreamed of having a big house.

Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Initially, this series will focus on our programs in Asia/South Pacific, where our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates.



Casey Neese