Return to World Ark Blog Landing

Today is World Humanitarian Day, and in honor of today, we at Heifer International celebrate the ordinary and extraordinary works of humanitarianism being conducted by its project participants, supporters and employees every day. With a mission to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth, Heifer thrives on the humanitarian spirit that is awakened with our Pass On the Gift concept.

Passing on the Gift Makes Everyone a Humanitarian

On Humanitarian Day, the world honors individuals who have shared their time and resources, and even braved danger and adversity, to help their fellow human beings. Heifer enables the poor and hungry to become humanitarians themselves with our model that capitalizes on the ability of livestock to reproduce. Each project participant passes on the gift of its animal’s first-born female offspring, along with training, to another family in the community.

Passing on the Gift in Nepal
Passing on the Gift ceremony in Nepal. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee, courtesy of Heifer International.

Donating Through Heifer Makes YOU a Humanitarian

Heifer also allows people who enjoy material security to become part of the humanitarian process when they donate an animal from Heifer’s catalog, and allows them to spread the joy of humanitarian action further by giving an animal gift in someone else’s honor.

Tanzanian Participant Jailed for Helping Community

In addition to its many humanitarian projects designed to bring families into self-reliance, Heifer International has seen remarkable examples of participants and workers who risk their own wellbeing to bring prosperity to others. For example, fish farmer Nicholas Mwakabelele was jailed for a period in Tanzania over his efforts to create fish hatcheries for his community. He took special time to help a blind man, Wailso Nzalayaluma, to create his own fish pond so that he would no longer have to beg for food.

Nicholas Mwakabelele in front of his tilapia pond.

Heifer Cambodia Director Persevered to Become Humanitarian Leader

Heifer Cambodia Director Keo KeangHeifer Cambodia Country Director Keo Keang grew up under the Khmer Rouge regime, and her family struggled to send her to school without money for books, supplies and uniforms. She strived to become a leader and now works every day to bring basic resources to families, especially women, who are struggling to emerge from oppressive poverty.

Heifer Haiti Staff Aided Earthquake Victims

In the aftermath of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, Heifer employees who had seen damage to their own homes and families nonetheless worked tirelessly to help other distressed victims. As he worried about the fate of his missing sister, trapped under rubble for a week, Heifer employee Junior Lozama worked to aid other victims of the quake, thinking, “Maybe some stranger is helping my sister right now.”

It’s that spirit of generosity and common humanity that gives Heifer International hope that an end to hunger and poverty is truly possible. Heifer is proud to stand with the United Nations in its call for celebrants of World Humanitarian Day to help improve our world by doing something good for someone else.

World Humanitarian DayWhat Makes You a Humanitarian?

Tell us in the comments section below.


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.