Teghenik, Armenia — Heifer beneficiary Tsovinar Davtyan prepares cheese, the sale of which supports her children and grandchildren. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee Teghenik, Armenia — Heifer beneficiary Tsovinar Davtyan prepares cheese, the sale of which supports her children and grandchildren. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

"Families hold societies together, and intergenerational relationships extend this legacy over time. This year’s International Day of Families is an occasion to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family. It is also an opportunity to reflect on how they are affected by social and economic trends – and what we can do to strengthen families in response."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message for 2013

 

When Heifer International measures the impact of its projects and programs, it doesn't just count individuals. Gender and Family Focus is one of Heifer's Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, and the family unit is central to our work. In fact, we count on strong family bonds and the cooperation that comes with them. Family members are invested in each others' success, even when they know the fruits of that success won't be reaped until they're gone.

"I have seen whatever I would like to see in my life, I don't need anything more for me. Everything is for my grandchildren," explained Tsovinar Davtyan, 67, a grandmother of four in the Armenian village of Tekhenik. She cares for her family's cows because she knows the benefits will last for generations.

May 15 is the United Nations International Day of Families, and this year's focus is on fostering inter-generational solidarity. That's a challenge for families in the Philippines, Bolivia and other places where job opportunities are few so young people set off to find opportunities elsewhere. This is where Heifer steps in, helping to build agricultural opportunities locally to keep families intact.

Click here to support a family in need through Heifer International.

Author

Austin Bailey

Austin Bailey is a writer and editor for Heifer's World Ark magazine.