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Editor's note: We received the following update from Heifer Romania's Communication and PR Coordinator Laura Manciu on the Irish-bred heifers that flew to Romania to improve the lives of families and communities. Photos by Heifer Romania staff. Read previous posts about these heifers here.

Irish heifers grazing on Romanian hay.

Of the 66 Irish heifers that landed one month ago in Romania, 45 were distributed yesterday for International women's Day as Heifer gifts to 45 women from Rasca, Cluj County. More than 300 people took part in the celebration.

This original placement ceremony proved to be very special for our women beneficiaries and is part of the Milk for Orphans Project. One cow gave birth the day before the event, and the calf was also brought safely. Each family also received 110 pounds of nutritional supplements to help the animals adapt better and faster to the region's climatic conditions.

The springtime gifts of Holstein Frisian breed heifers were offered by Heifer International and Bothar Ireland. The Senior Director of Strategy of Bothar, Peter Ireton, attended the event together with the beneficiary families, Heifer Romania team and many other guests.

"It is a pleasure to work again with the Heifer Romania team, which proved once more their professionalism and dedication for social projects," said Ireton.

His Excellency, Oliver Grogan, the Ambassador of Ireland in Romania, also took part in the ceremony, thanking Heifer Romania and Bothar for their support and encouraging the project participants to follow this path and make this project a great success. He wished to meet personally some of the families and visited them at home.

His Excellency said:

For Ireland and me, it is a great honor to be invited to this celebration where Irish heifers are offered as gifts to women in Rasca. I want to believe that these cows will keep a small part of their Irish heritage. These volunteer activities continue a longtime tradition, which started more than 20 years ago by a few families. Irish farmers are filled with a sense of pride when donating animals, feeling highlighted by the fact that some years ago they were just as poor. I am convinced that the farmers that provided the animals would be very happy to know their cows are in very good hands.

The purebred cows were airlifted from Ireland to Romania, as part of a social and food assurance program that assists farmer families and orphans. The heifers distributed are the second transport sent to Romania, through Bothar and Heifer International by Irish farmers. Since January 18, the heifers spent a month and a half in quarantine, and on International Women's Day were given as gifts to female beneficiaries of Heifer International.

"I never believed that anyone would give me such a valuable gift. I will take good care of the heifer, and my family is happy to pass on the gift to another family, just as poor as us. I will help others just as I was aided and will donate milk to the orphan children," said Livia Rosu, one of the recipients.

Media representatives were present, and the event had coverage at all levels. There was one TV channel that broadcasted the ceremony live. This project is already well known thanks to the first transport of airlifted heifers. Up to now, 91 heifers were distributed in Rasca, and the community is working hard to make this project successful.

During the event, the beneficiaries' children delighted the crowd with traditional folkloric songs and dances.

Crowds gather to see the Irish heifers.
His Excellency, Oliver Grogan and Peter Ireton visit a beneficiary family.
His Excellency, Oliver Grogan, offering gifts to young artists who performed
Romanian folkloric dances
His Excellency, Oliver Grogan visiting the Tise family animal shelter.
His Excellency, Oliver Grogan, with new women project beneficiaries.
His Excellency, Oliver Grogan; Ioan Morar, the Mayor of Rasca;
Peter Ireton, Senior Director of Strategy of Bothar;
Ovidiu Spinu, Country Director of Heifer Romania;
Vasile Cozma, Vice Governor of Cluj County
Peter Ireton and His Excellency, Oliver Grogan, with some of the Romanian beneficiaries.

Heifer Romania Country Director Ovidiu Spinu said, "Part of the heifers that are already in their new homes have given birth to beautiful offspring. Their owners are pleased that the animals adapted very well and are much more productive than the local breeds. It was easy for the Irish Frisian to adapt to the conditions as Rasca, as previously these animals were kept outside, freely on pastures."


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.