Two years ago, Heifer International’s partner, IDEAS, was promoting a livelihoods project in a community in Peru. The project, Building Sustainable Livelihoods in Piura's Dry Forest Community, was an opportunity 42-year old Maria Esmelda decided she couldn’t pass up, so she signed up.
Esmelda recounts her experience as a participant, “The first workshop I attended was about sheep. I learned about the diseases of sheep and how to care for them. After participating in the project for several months, I received five sheep. It was a beautiful experience receiving the sheep and taking care of them. I was very happy because I knew that eventually, after a lot of hard work, I would be able to share this gift that was given to me. I passed on six sheep and I kept my original five sheep. I sold the male offspring and kept the females to continue breeding them. Occasionally, I will sell a female sheep if we have a desperate need for money. For example, when the rice harvest was coming in and we didn’t have money to pay our workers, we sold a female and paid the workers.”
Esmelda’s enthusiasm led her to more workshops. After attending a goat workshop, she received five goats. She also participated in an organic fertilizer workshop and now grows beets, carrots and cabbage in her vegetable garden. She learned the health benefits of the vegetables at a nutrition workshop and now makes sure her family has plenty of vegetables to eat. “At home, our nutrition has improved,” she said. “My children have a better diet and I am confident that we will have vegetables to eat. Since I grow the vegetables, I know that they are organic and do not have any contaminants that will harm my children.”
Esmelda’s family supports her involvement in the project. Her children even helped her create an irrigation system for the garden. Esmelda and her husband always talk about new varieties of vegetables that can be grown on their land. She is excited about all of the skills she has received through the workshops and training. She looks to the future where she will continue to gain knowledge and have the chance to pass it on to others who are in need.
- Jessica Ford
The end of hunger isn’t a fairy tale
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We were extraordinarily blessed to be raised in the Rocker family. As children our parents were always involved at church and in the community at large, contributing their time, talents and money whenever possible. We all grew up with that example and as adults try to emulate our parent’s generosity, though it’s doubtful we can even come close. When we were younger, our Christmas celebrations were more about being together than they were about gifts. But as happens quite often, our small family Christmas celebrations grew as the family grew into a huge party with gifts stacked everywhere. While everyone certainly enjoyed the gift exchange, Christmas was beginning to lose some of its magic for us as a family. Last summer, as our mom was beginning her preparations for the annual celebration, she became depressed about it and prayed for ideas to plan something that would hearken back to those wonderful Christmas celebrations of the past. During her reflection she remembered one of the grandchildren requesting a flock of chickens through Heifer International for her birthday a few years ago. Thinking on a grand scale, this inspired her idea for providing the Ark in 2015. We were all on board and within a short time she had raised the entire amount needed to sponsor the project. At the family Christmas party, instead of endless time spent opening gifts, we spent time together and mom read a version of the Nativity story that focused strongly on the animals present that night. She then explained to the younger children how the animals we provided would so greatly help others, which sparked wonderful conversation with the children. We all agreed this was the best Christmas we had shared in years and look forward to planning more Christmas projects together.
Recently, Heifer received a letter from Kathleen M., a long-time Heifer International donor and a Special Education teacher in California. In the letter she shared that this year, instead of giving her students traditional holiday gifts, she wanted to teach her students why she loves to give to Heifer. After passing around Heifer's "Most Important Gift Catalog in the World," Kathleen held a nomination for the animal her students most wanted to donate to Heifer. The classroom decided on a pig and a few other smaller donations. As a thank you for participating, she passed out kid-friendly honor cards, asking her students to draw what Heifer means to them. For the next week or so, we will be sharing their drawings with you. We hope you enjoy looking at their depictions of Heifer's mission as much as we did!
Submitted by Angelinah | California
Submitted by Carlos | California
The poor are not responsible for their poverty and misery. Most of them struggle in conditions that are subhuman, dangerous, full of disease, hunger and despair.Pierre Ferrari
Congratulations to Crystal Marufo whose story of quitting smoking to raise an Ark for Heifer appeared in the Holiday 2015 issue of the World Ark! The Christmas Eve offering at her church, the Goshen City Church of the Brethren, helped her reach her goal. In one year’s time, Crystal and the friends she has inspired have raised the money for an Ark. Thanks, Crystal, for your dedication and perseverance! And thanks to all who contributed after reading the article. You have been an inspiration to Crystal, as well.
Submitted by Gracie | Maryland
Submitted by Anna Giulia | Age 9 | NYC
This year for Christmas I offered my almost 7-year old granddaughter three options for her Christmas gift. 1) She could have a big present for herself. 2) She could have a smaller gift and send an animal or group of animals to a boy or girl in another country who doesn’t have as many things as we do. 3) She could just send animals and not get a gift for herself. Click on the title of this story to read more!
Collection of information from all three communities complete! Using an innovative, practical methodology developed by Fundación Paraguaya, Poverty Stoplight.
Sahel communities have now been identified for reference and participation in the prototype program.
There are a number of reasons we chose the Sahel for this prototype, including the people we work with and the relationships we're building.
Submitted by Faith | Age 9 | Colorado
Throughout the month of December, the SoulShine day school and after school programs learned about Heifer International and the different animals and opportunities that can be gifted to families all over the world. Ages 2-12 looked at the magazines, materials, and lesson plans about farming and raising livestock. On December 17 we held a market and raised over $100 for Heifer International by selling goods we made together. The children made all the products including vegan cinnamon buns, dream pillows, necklaces, candles, and more. The SoulShine school tripled our donation amount to $320 and we bought 4 baskets of hope and 1 goat from Heifer International. During this month of learning with Heifer International, one of my favorite activities was having our 2-year old students identify animals that live in the wild and animals that live on the farm. It was fun to show them pictures of farm animals using Heifer International images and then play sounds of the animals. The 2-year old students were asked to identify the sounds of ducks, chickens, cows, pigs, and more. We all giggled and learned that we can share these gifts with families in need. Thank you Heifer International. Submitted by Andrea Zoppo
Submitted by Addison | Age 8 1/2 | Colorado
Received in the beginning of December 2015, the below letter was sent into Heifer International from Pam Nemeth, proud mother of Jake Nemeth, co-founder of The Giving Garden and recently inducted Eagle Scout. There was no way we at Heifer were going to allow Jake's hard work and dedication to go unacknowledged. We'd like to allow Pam's words to tell you more about Jake's Eagle Project, so without further ado... (Click the title of this story to read more!)
Dear Heifer International, Enclosed are multiple checks for Heifer International. Thank you for allowing us to extend a helping hand. The kids in Science Hill Friends Sunday School class, grades four through six, wanted to make a difference in the world, if only a small one. This year, instead of exchanging gifts with each other, we chose to raise money for Heifer International. The class wanted to raise enough money to purchase a cow for a family in need. They all agreed theyw ould not receive a gift from their teacher and vise versa and their project would be funded with that money. They made pottery plates and filled them with homemade cookies and designed a tee shirt ("Because I gave up one Christmas gift a family is able to eat for a month!"). Pottery plates/cookies and tee shirts were sold for $10 each. One hundred percent of the proceeds were donated to Heifer International. Our church, Science Hill Friends agreed to match whatever we raised. We raised $560.00, therefore there are check enclosed totaling $1,120.00. We appreciate this opportunity to learn, share and be grateful. Thank you! Friends, Haven, Hgnat, Kara, Kaley, Annabelle, Silas, Mackenzie & Tammy Submitted by Tammy G.
Submitted by Lucy | Age 8 | Massachusetts | "I am 8 years old. I am happy that some people will get to have chicks and animals and then more and more people can live well and have enough to eat."