It's fun to see the variety of Heifer’s projects. Like working with silk worms in Asia, biogas stoves in Africa, or weaving alpaca fiber in South America. I love the diversity of Heifer’s work with different women, families, governments and partners. But it is still refreshing and rewarding to hear from the field about the life transformation brought from a good ol’ cow and kiddos who are healthier because they drink the cow’s milk. Cows are why we’re called Heifer. And what got us into this whole “Ending hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth” business.
This past autumn, 20 pregnant heifers from the Milk for Orphans project in Romania were delivered to an ecstatic group of 20 families in the village of Fodora. They received their animals from others in their area during a Passing on the Gift® ceremony.
Our Romanian staff there recently visited the village to monitor the project and learned that one of those heifers delivered a calf. They paid a visit to the home of Alexandru Pop to see how their cow is transforming the life of his family.
His two young daughters–Alexandra, 13, and Andreea, 9–were just coming home from school. The sisters raced to meet the staff. They dropped their backbacks on the ground and excitedly introduced the newest member of their family: a one-week old male calf named “Petec,” or “Patch” in English.
When asked what they think of the new cow in their life, Alexandra smiles as she shares: “We are very happy that we received this cow. Our mommy is the one that teaches us interesting science stuff about animals, like how many stomachs a cow has. Daddy always lets us play with Patch and we help feed him.”
Their father pipes in, “I could hardly believe it when they let us know we were chosen to become project participants. It was perfect timing since the 16-year-old cow we had barely gave milk—we inherited it last year from an aunt that passed away. My daughters love animals and milk is part of their daily meals. Since Patch was born, the two girls see it as they living toy. They come home from school and run to the cowshed to pet him, feed him and play with him.”
Give a child joy this holiday season like Andreea and Alexandra have.
Alexandru used to work seasonally cleaning pastures or in construction, but he suffered an accident eight years ago. He had to retire due to his fragile health condition and is receiving the equivalent of $60 per month in government aid.
Life isn’t always easy in the small village of Fodora, but with the cow, Alexandra and Andreea now have milk to supplement their nutrition, and it also provides additional income for the entire family.
Happy kids with cows. Dan West started a pretty good thing almost 70 years ago when he was handing out powdered milk to children and realized what a difference a single cow could make. Kids and cows, right? Heifer’s roots.
To help Heifer continue the rich tradition of helping kiddos with cows, you can buy one today from our gift catalog so we can expand this and other projects.
(Side note on the Milk for Orphans project: Heifer gives the cows to needy families, who then use the excess milk from their cows for the local orphans in Romania.)
Story and photos submitted by Laura Manciu, Communication and PR Coordinator, Heifer Romania