I remember the first time I heard of Heifer International. I was sitting in a Peace Corps van, driving through the streets of Thies, the second largest city in Senegal. Two of my fellow volunteers started excitedly chattering as we passed a sign. They slapped on the window and shrieked at each other. I didn’t really understand the excitement, but I noted the sign, a cow jumping over the word “Heifer.” At the moment, it didn’t mean much to me, but looking back on that moment, it was the start to something amazing.
Heifer International didn’t come back into my life for almost 2 more years. During those years I worked as an Environmental Education Extension Agent for the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa. This was a job that would change my life for the better, opening a door into international development and aide work. This is where I was meant to be; this is why I am on this Earth. I fell in love with Senegalese culture, seeing the world and working for Peace Corps, but it all had to come to an end eventually and I needed to figure out what life held for me post-Peace Corps.
That’s when I was reintroduced to Heifer International came back, through the same friends who had been in that van years before. They ranted and raved about their experiences working at the Heifer Ranch and Heifer Farm (known then as Overlook Farm). They said I would love it and it would be a perfect fit. I wasn’t sure about it, but I took the leap and applied. It was a smooth process, including couple of emails, a less-than-audible phone interview, and before long I received notice I had been accepted onto the Heifer Farm as an Education Volunteer. So I moved my life home from Senegal, West Africa to Los Angeles, CA, where I spent a couple of weeks before moving to Rutland, Massachusetts, the home of Heifer Farm.
I had no idea what would be in store for me once I arrived but I knew I needed a new home. From the moment I stepped foot on the farm I was surrounded by like-minded, open, exciting people; people who were excited to have me and eager to include me in this new community. There were even some returned Peace Corps volunteers, like myself, from Panama, Kenya and Paraguay. Living on Heifer Farm and learning about the various Heifer projects all over the world motivated me to take my education into my own hands and start exploring new realms of interest. This was the beginning of a binge of documentaries, TED talks, and podcasts, topics surrounding food, food systems, hunger, poverty and international development. In the first few months at Heifer Farm I felt like a sponge, soaking up everything and all that was thrown at me.
I could see this love to learning coming out in my work through my facilitation of groups. I knew I was not ready to leave the farm after my original contract ended, so I decided to extend through the summer, even deferring graduate school for a year, to make sure I could feel complete in my Heifer experience. I will have completed 7 months on the Heifer Farm in November and each month has brought a new, exciting load of information about what Heifer and other similar organizations are doing to bout hunger and poverty all over the world. Without this Heifer experience, I would not feel as confident as I do now to take on graduate school and continue my career path into development and aide work.
Heifer Farm has created the perfect environment that helps to educate the local public, while also allowing the volunteers, who devote 24hr/7 days a week to the organization, to grown as individuals. Heifer International is a community of people. An environment I will seek out no matter where this life takes me and I am so proud to have spent this time as a residential volunteer on Heifer Farm.
- Nicolette Ulrich
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