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Hmong farmers pass on gifts of animals, well wishes on Valentine's Day
When you give of your heart, you change yourself and you can change the world. Nowhere was that more in evidence on Sunday, 14 February 2010 (Valentine’s Day), than in the Kek Noi sub-district of Thailand, where families gathered to celebrate the next step in their journey to self-reliance by Passing on the Gift of cows, goats and other animals to families in need.
“The cows that I raise are big enough to pass them on to you, please love them and take good care of them like I did,” said Mrs. Yuwadee Sae-hong, who Passed on the Gift of two cows. “I wish you happiness and prosperity like I have. Look after the cows well so they produce offspring and you can give them to others needy soon.”
At this celebration, 76 families received gifts of livestock from 73 original families and three pass-on families—families who had received an animal from an original Heifer project family.
Kek Noi is a remote community between the boundary of three provinces—Phetchabun, Pittsanulok and Loei—in northern Thailand. The Heifer International project, Hmong Association for Development in Thailand (HADT), aids Hmong farmers in six villages by providing 100 cows, 150 goats, 390 poultry, 45,000 fish fingerlings and 50 ponds, 1,850 seedlings, 1460 kg of seed, 15 bio-gas units and equipments for fruit plantation.
The 150 original families and 200 pass-on families also receive technical training addressing livestock management, water monitoring, bio-gas production and agroforestry, and training in Heifer’s Cornerstones, its values-based holistic community development approach that focuses on self-help group formation and management, group savings, gender equity and integrated organic farming.
Many of the participating villagers said that by being included in the project, they have increased their confidence, knowledge and income. Group activities have fostered greater community harmony and the Cornerstone training helped them better share their values and enabling people to improve gender equity among Hmong women.
Young people played a role in the celebration as well. Schoolchildren participated in a Passing on the Gift drawing competition, and their art was displayed during the celebration.
“I want everyone to help preserve the environment and grow more trees to help reduce global warming,” said 11-year-old Prakaithip Sae-lee. “I want everyone to live in harmony, save the environment, keep the community clean and raise animals,” added Rungthip Sae-sow, 10.
Truly a story to warm hearts the world over.