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Like peanut butter and chocolate, kids and animals are a natural combination. Animals give children the opportunity to connect with another living being.
When a child has something to take care of, they learn the value of responsibility–a gift that lasts a lifetime.

Five-year-old Vladut Baias lives in Romania’s Aschileu village. In 2012, his family received the most amazing gift: a water buffalo. 

Vladut’s family belongs to Heifer Romania’s Revitalization of Water Buffalo Breeding in Aschileu and Mera Villages project. Like others in this project, Vladut’s family can tell you that their water buffalo has turned their life around.

These large plow animals are able to till large plots of land at a stretch, enabling farmers to sow four times more crops than planting by hand. Moreover, buffalo manure provides excellent organic fertilizer, making the soil rich and fertile, which leads to healthy harvests. Rich in protein and nutrients, buffalo milk is a nutrition booster, too.

Vladut plays with his family's water buffalo calf
Vladut has become more social since his family received the gift of a water buffalo.

Vladut’s mother, Alina singlehandedly cares for Vladut and her parents. Her husband is the village shepherd, so he is away from home for eight months out of the year. The water buffalo makes her job easier, and, with buffalo milk readily available, her family’s nutrition has vastly improved. 

This past September, their water buffalo gave birth to a female calf. Vladut is so excited about the newest furry member of his family. He devotes most of his time to taking care of and playing with the baby buffalo. In fact, now Vladut practically lives in the barn. The connection between the boy and his buffalo is strong and the love is clearly mutual.  

Before this animal came along, communication was a challenge for Vladut, and he found it hard to make friends. The new buffalo changed all of that. His social development has been significantly boosted by this newfound companionship.

Now, what can be better than that?

And it's ok! You still have time! Change a child’s life with an animal gift today.

Story and Photos by Laura Manciu, Communication and PR Coordinator, Heifer Romania


Erin Snow

Erin Snow joined Heifer International in 2007 after earning a degree in Mass Communication from UALR. She lives in Little Rock with her husband and daughter. Passionate about cultivating positive and healthy relationships with her family, friends and the planet, Erin enjoys yoga, meditation, music, creative writing and travel.