Meet Stanislaw Debert; at the end of 1945, Mr. Debert was the recipient of one of the 150 heifers sent by the Heifer Project to Poland on the SS Santiago Iglesias. In early October, I had the good fortune to sit and talk with him, his wife, and a daughter in their home near Gdansk about what that heifer meant to them.
At the end of World War II when Europe was seething with displaced persons, Mr. Debert arrived in the area of Gdansk. He fled from Kielce on the roof of a train car with only the clothes he was wearing.
He started his life over with his wife on his allotment of a 50-hectare farm (123 acres). There was nothing to eat, not even fruits and vegetables. However, help was on its way in the form of a heifer from the Heifer Project as well as a horse and canned food goods from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. UNRRA is the organization that provided the shipping for the Heifer Project animals.
The heifer was so important to the family that they kept her in the house with them. The Russians, Poland's "liberators," had been stealing and eating farm animals during that time. The Deberts didn't want that to happen to their beloved cow. She was the only cow on their farm and served them well for the next five years. Sadly, she got sick and had to be put down. Mr. Debert said, "The children cried. It was a very sad time." Even talking about it some sixty-three years later brought tears to his eyes.
Mr. Debert, now 89, asked me how he could thank the people who sent him his cow. I told him I would convey the message for him. And so, to you supporters of Heifer International, and especially those of you involved in the early years, on behalf of Mr. Debert and others like him, I pass on to you their hugs and tears of gratitude and say, "Thank you, thank you!"
P.S. I found Stanislaw Debert's name on a list of recipients from the SS Santiago Iglesias shipment in the process of researching Heifer's first decade in order to write a book about it. While in Europe, I also had the opportunity to meet with German recipients of heifers in 1950. I tell their story in a "Letter to the Editor" in the upcoming Spring 2014 World Ark.
- Peggy Reif Miller
The end of hunger isn’t a fairy tale
Welcome to the Heifer family. Donors, volunteers, recipients and our teams around the world share a common goal: To end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. It’s a lofty goal, but we know it's achievable. Together we are the family that can create this change.
Together we can make cows fly
See stories of how lives are being transformed around the globe through Heifer's work in more than 20 countries.
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Two teams of cyclists are traversing two different continents all for the same cause: ending hunger and poverty. Click the title of this story to read more...
It’s not every day you hear of 4th graders learning the value of economics. But when Heifer International received a $480 donation along with a letter referencing “mini-society business sessions” taking place during 4th graders’ economic studies, we were intrigued. Click the title of this story to read more...
I am a woman among women, and my family is well respected in the villageGagnessiri Ndiaye, http://tinyurl.com/qhbuvnn
My name is Rebecca and I am from Lincoln Middle School in Meriden, CT. I am writing on behalf of my 7th grade team who worked at collecting money for your organization. My Social Studies teacher received your letter in the mail about donating to farms in East Africa and then gave us background on your organization because she uses your foundation herself. She then encouraged donations, even if it was just a penny. To read more, please click on the title of this story...
On 13 July 2015, Ladd, Illinois, a town of 1,300, celebrated its 125th anniversary. We had an outdoor mass and the collection of $845 was designated for Heifer International. We reflected that the early, immigrant settlers made it possible for us to have what we have today. We felt this was a small way we could share with others and give the gift that keeps on giving.
The students at Clementine Montessori School in Philadelphia, PA have been learning about the work of Heifer International all year. We've read books about worms and chickens, about Beatrice's goat, about good gardens and cows. We tasted honey when we studied how bees help people, drank goat's milk and ate goat cheese, cleaned alpaca fleece and learned big words, like "sustainability" and "faith." Click the title of this story to read more...
As an Orthodox Jewish school, we consider tzedekah or charity to be a mitzvah or good deed. Considering this, it is not surprising that the vast majority of my students care deeply about their involvement in the Read to Feed program and remain committed to Heifer's mission to end world hunger and poverty. Click the title of this story to read more...
For the second straight year, our children at Brookhaven Elementary School have taken on the challenge of raising funds for Heifer International. We "upped the ante" by making the teacher from the top fundraising class "Kiss the Cow" at our annual Spring Carnival. Click the title of this story to read more...
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.African Proverb
One woman told us that owning cows has made her as strong as a man.Wendi Aarons
Throughout the 2014-15 school year, students at Saint Paul United Church of Christ in New Bremen, OH decided to raise funds for Heifer International. Click the title of this story to read more...
After cruising around for a bit and enjoying the beautiful scenery and wildlife, our captain docked the boat and told us all we could jump in and swim. Almost everyone from the group immediately sprinted to the side and cannonballed into the water like it was Caddy Day at Bushwood Country Club and they were allowed just 15 minutes to have fun before the Baby Ruth appeared. It was pretty great. I didn’t join them. Instead, I stood on the deck waving and smiling at everyone in the gorgeous water, and quickly decided it wasn’t something I could do.
Friends, I'm happy to report that found light in Malawi. There is light and colour everywhere. The women wear vibrant colours and patterns, and at every stop, our hosts greeted us with exuberant song and dance.
"Watching [Cindy] in this moment was the link between putting a check into an envelope and seeing how every donation matters." -Meredith Walker