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.
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Dear Heifer International, I am the first grade teacher at St. Bridget School in Manchester, CT. I am writing you this letter because this enclosed gift of $100, raised specifically for five flocks of chicks to help bring some families out of poverty, is very special. It may be a small donation, but it is from children... Please click the link below to read more...
Big City Mom, Rebecca, throws her 3-year-old daughter a birthday party and asks guests to bring donations to Heifer International! Please click the link below to read her blog post from Big City Moms...
The children at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hill, CA sent a letter and pictures expressing their excitement for purchasing a cow for a family in need. Click the link below to read their letter!
8th Grader in Boulder, CO hosts a concert for Heifer
Orange, pink, yellow, blue and more covered the Foxcroft campus on Friday during the Class of 2017’s Junior Class Walkathon. Following the previous year’s theme of a color run, students and faculty enjoyed the warm weather and sunny day to raise money for a great cause--Heifer International. Click on the title of this story to read more!
My Grandma introduced me to Heifer International when I was 5 or 6 years old. It was near Christmas and she got a magazine, thought it was junk mail and was looking through it. She started reading about Heifer. Then I came over and she asked me, "Do you want to give a trio of rabbits to a family somewhere in the world?" I said, "Sure" and she told me all about Heifer. Now I am 10 years old and I have been giving to Heifer for a long time. I just love Heifer and it is an organization that helps poor people. I wanted my 4th grade class to know about Heifer and how they can help families. I talked with a teacher at my school and asked for help. We worked on a presentation to share with the 4th graders teaching them about Heifer. Then I made a flyer to go home with all the 4th graders. Then they had 2 weeks to donate money to Heifer. After the 2 weeks I counted all the money and we came out with $150.13. I want to buy an irrigation pump because I know water is very important. You can make food with it and you can drink it. I hope my donation impacts the world! Submitted by Elizabeth S.
Dear Heifer International, This entire idea started about two months ago when I saw the catalog lying on our center island. I paged through it and saw all of these people that needed food and income. Then it hit me, it would be a great idea to try to get my family to support me in this project. When the first email came I went crazy. My grandma had just given $50! Then the emails were coming in like crazy. I was getting donations almost once a minute. So then a month later we decided to get a Hope Basket, Clean Water for One Village, and a flock of chickens. Enclosed is $225. Keep the extra $5. Thanks, Nico S.
Hi! My name is Hannah and I am 8-years old. I raised money by making bracelets and instead of Christmas presents, I asked for money. So please buy a goat and (a flock of) chicken(s) with the money I raised! Happy Valentine's Day! Hannah PS: I hope I make a family happy.
Family donates water buffalo as holiday gift... Click the title of this story to read more!
Please accept this donation not just from me, but as a gift from North Park Elementary School. Let me explain how this came about. When I received the Heifer International (gift) catalog at my home, I decided to see if my principal would approve it as a class fundraiser. Needless to say, she did, so the class fundraiser grew into a school-wide fundraiser! All we asked for were donations of loose change and we call our fundraiser, "Change to Change the World." (Along with an introductory letter we wrote to help students, families and teachers learn more about your orgainzation and mission) some teachers also read Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier, which contains an afterward by Hillary Clinton that mentions Heifer International. In the end we collected $229.76 in loose change as well as $89 in bills. The students were so proud to see the level of generosity found within our school community! So, on behalf of the North Park Elementary community, please accept our donation and use it in any way that will support the communities in need most. Thank you for what you are doing!
It is with great pleasure that we have enclosed a check for $5,000 to give an Ark through Heifer International. Our small, rural congregation initially established this goal 2 1/2 years ago. We have been steadily working toward it using various fundraising efforts. It has truly been a group effort in that money was received from our Sunday School children, our youth group, our women's fellowship, Sunday mission offerings and individual donations. We support in the work of Heifer, especially the idea of Passing on the Gift. We are excited at the prospect of our gift multiplying to provide sustainability, self-reliance and hope to people around the globe. We are blessed and grateful to be able to share this gift. Thank you for the opportunity to reach far beyond our small town to give assistance to those who need it most.
Dear Heifer, I am a teacher in the small, rural school of West Greene District in PA. I also love travel, and do so frequently with my fiancee and have organized an International Club at my school. My fiancee and I have been to numerous countries (17 for me, 38 for him--he is a retired US Marine), and the students have raised money and in the last four years have traveled to England, France, Greece and Italy. They are currently fundraising for the next trip in 2017, a return to London and Paris, albeit with a new group. I do my best to open the world and its experiences to my students, many of whom have never traveled outside of their own state, let alone another country. I try to expose them to the sometimes vast differences between the life they know in the US and that of others in various countries. To that end, I encourage donations whenever possible. In the past, the West Greene International Club has donated twice to Cambodia, a country near to my heart after visiting there. Our last donation was a few months ago, and we received a lovely certificate from Heifer, which is proudly displayed in my classroom. With that certificate came a note concerning Heifer's latest project spotlight--Vietnam--which I immediately showed to my students. I have also visited that beautiful country and showed my photos to the students and told them about the people there. In the spirit of Christmas, my students brought in donations--single dollars, coins, pennies, etc. A fellow teacher donated as well. We proudly enclose our check for $50. Warm regards, Rebecca M.