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.
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."
In 1969 Ralph Barnes, from Chatham, IL, a farmer and coordinator for Heifer International, called Austin Hulcher to see if he would take a load of cattle/heifers, to Miami, FL. Since the 1,400-mile trip would be non-stop, Austin called his good friend, Bud King, to help drive the truck. This trip meant loading up the heifers into a double decker trailer. The 47 heifers were chosen from prize winners at county fairs and the Illinois State Fair. Each of the heifers weighed between 600-800 pounds and were among prize winning stock. The cowboys were told the heifers would help to upgrade the stock in Bolivia, South America, where the cattle were pretty scrawny... Click the title of this story to read more!
Submitted by Michelle | Age 8 | Colorado
I received a Heifer catalog in the mail in October. I was struck with the idea of blessing a family on the other side of the world that I would never meet with a Christmas gift that could positively impact their lives; and I liked the idea of giving an actual animal--in my suburban Chicago life that is not the kind of gift we are accustomed to giving. I brought up the idea to my co-workers in the Palos Community Hospital Surgery and PACU departments and my fellow nurses, aides, supervisors, secretaries, and pharmacists all grabbed onto it and ran with it. Each payday we reminded each other to put aside just a little towards our goal of giving a Christmas cow. We kept a running tab of our donations on our “Heifer-ometer” in our staff lounge, and little by little we approached our goal. We passed the $500 mark in early December and my co-workers wanted to do more: “How much is a sheep--they give milk and wool, and how about chickens?” They just never stopped giving, and by Christmas we had decided to give a cow, sheep, pig, and 5 flocks of chicks with the $840 we all donated. I know that the world is a crazy place and that I can do little to change the violence that is so often in the news, but I couldn’t help but feel a little hope and joy that a bunch of unrelated people, who at times don’t even get along with each other, could come together and plant a little bit of peace in the world and do something together that we couldn’t accomplish individually. I was proud to be a part of it. May it continue in each of us. Rick Hultgen, RN Palos Community Hospital Surgery Department
I am happy to report that my first grade class raised $300 for our Read to Feed Christmas outreach project and read nearly 500 books. My big-hearted children did this in lieu of exchanging gifts with each other and some gave that money toward the program. Through their efforts, we were able to purchase 2 llamas which will provide annual income for 2 or more needy families in other countries. We learned about the various resources/animals available for purchase through Heifer throughout this process and about some of the children who have benefited from it across the globe. My class has been doing this for 5 years and loving it every year! Submitted by Casey Grier
Submitted by Sara | Age 8 | Colorado
I am a first grade teacher. As a part of our unit on cultures and holidays around the world, the other two first grade teachers and I ask the children to donate THEIR money (from their piggy banks or from chores) toward a donation for livestock purchase. This year the first graders of Conneaut Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ohio raised $145 dollars and were able to donate one goat and one flock of chicks. This is a great opportunity for the students to learn how important it is to give back! Submitted by Shannon K.