It started becoming chilly when we made our latest visit to Wang Qinghuas house. Wearing red a shirt, dark blue pants and cloth shoes, she was busy serving guests at her small restaurant.
The life of her family is changing with the help of Heifer International.
Her calves, which were born in April to three cows, are well cared for, and her restaurant is also running well. By Sept. 15, her restaurant had earned 30,000 yuan (about US $4,800), half of which has been spent on daily expenses and her sons tuition, and the other half will be spent on investments and her sons college savings. Since Qinghua's family income has increased, their nutrient intake has also been improved: they can now have some meat once or twice a week instead of only once a week as they did before. Because they have a garden, they also have enough fruits and vegetables.
When the training of cow raising and bean planting is done, Ms. Wangs family registered a marketing course and learned how to find market information. Now with the help of the computer they bought, they can learn the value of their farm products in order to bargain, and even look for buyers directly.
In terms of community work, the workshop Qinghua has joined always holds discussions and communications on bean plantation skills and sale information. In order to sell more vegetables, she and others founded Deli Vegetables Plantation Cooperative, which has solved the problem of finding buyers by centralizing their purchasing and selling. With the dogged efforts of this group, a 220 square meter office building and a 600 square meter facility for their cooperative have both been constructed. In addition, the harvest of beans has brought 2 million yuan (about US $321,000).
"By joining the Heifer program, my family and I had the opportunity to go out. We have seen more and we have learned more. We are passionate to do something, Qinghua says.
Editors note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Our colleagues in the field have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates. You can read past posts about Wang Qinghua and her family here.