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September 9 was a beautiful autumn day in the Transylvanian Rasca village. Harvest time is in full swing, and project participants are eager to pass on part of their hard work – 15 Irish heifers – to other families in need. They continue the Passing on the Gift (POG) cycle that helped the villages in the area become more self-reliant. Community members dressed up for this special POG ceremony, part of Heifer Romania's Milk for Orphans project.

Heifer Romania
Diplomas were handed out for those who Passed on the Gift.

Through this project, 100 Irish Friesian heifers were distributed to help farmers improve nutrition, increase income and bolster livestock genetics. Steady support is provided to at-risk youth from orphanages and child care institutions. Project participants continuously donate fresh milk to improve the children’s daily nutrition. Both Bothar Ireland and Heifer International have brought substantial financial contributions to this project.

It was a day of celebration. Everyone was excited and enthusiastic as important guests were expected to attend the event.

The event was held at a local community house where a temporary enclosure was set up for the heifers. Local and regional authorities, the Heifer Romania team, project participants and other special guests gathered for this unique occasion.

Heifer Romania
Irish heifers in their temporary enclosure waiting to go home with their new owners.

The mayor of Rasca commune encouraged the new project participants to take good care of the gift they received and to continue the cycle of giving. He participated in the ceremony by helping with the lottery draw, thanking the families that were passing on and shaking the hands of the new families receiving the heifers.

Heifer Romania
After his speech, the mayor of Rasca received a gift from Bothar Ireland.

Bothar Ireland supporters began their trip in Romania by visiting farmers that received Irish cows. They visited the families involved in the project and actively participated in the ceremony. Pat McCarrick, the group’s coordinator, wrote in the group’s trip journal, ”Today was a big day, full of wonderful experiences and wonderful people. We were very honored to partake in the Passing on the Gift ceremony in Rasca.”

The beneficiaries were very happy that they had the chance to meet some of the people that donated heifers in 2012. Pat McCarrick said, “It is a fabulous experience for these people, that yearly give money and animals or are involved in raising funds for the world’s poor, to witness and discover what happens with their donations.

Heifer Romania
Mrs. Daniela, a new project participant, and her new Irish cow.

This fruitful day ended with sandwiches served to all participants. Everyone rejoiced to see how a common goal can unite people from distant corners of the world. The community received Heifer Romania with open hearts and took good care of the gifts they received. They are thankful to Heifer and Bothar and are hopeful in planning their future, gaining confidence and self-reliance. 

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Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.