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 40 countries.
Heifer is hosting events across the country as part of our "Beyond Hunger: Communities of Change" series. You can see the calendar of events and register for them online. Join us in celebrating Heifer's legacy of creating social change.
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
A long-time volunteer explains why she supporters Heifer International.
The First Congregational Church of Marion, long time Heifer International supporters, created a unique fundraiser.
Becky, a beloved 6th grade teacher at Austin Academy in Garland, TX, passed away a year ago in a tragic motorcycle accident. Her school decided to honor her memory by donating to Heifer International. Becky's co-worker and friend, Mindy, was kind enough to allow us to share their story.
A worker from Heifer came to my library and after the program I was inspired to raise money for Heifer. We sold honey that was fresh from our bees at the library and we reached our goal of $20 to buy some baby chicks!
The West Bath School, 150 students Grades K-5, began their 6th annual Read to Feed campaign led by former teacher and now librarian, Mrs. Elena Desjardins (Mrs. D). Three weeks into the campaign, Ethan Reno, a 4th grader, approached Mrs. D saying, “I want to help you inspire more students to join Read to Feed this year because I want to help save more children.”
The Half Hollow Hills High School West Environmental Club is proud to announce that they were able to raise $3,010 to be donated to Heifer International, a nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable, values based holistic community development.
Our students study ethics with issues of Global Poverty and Hunger through discourse on the Millennium Development Goals. It is a Keystone course for Webster's Global Citizenship program.
My son, Oliver, who is seven years old, was inspired by a friend who was selling home-made cookies in order to donate a flock of chicks to Heifer International. He loved the idea of helping needy families by donating an animal that could provide food as well as a way for the family to make money.
There appeared to be little hope, the viability of the farm was in serious doubt. Then I read about Heifer International and how they manage to fly various animal's across the globe. "It they can do it, so can we," said one of the students.
By continuously passing on the gift of Education, we continue with the circle of sharing the knowledge and training of Heifer International with the old volunteers and the new volunteers, with the staff and projects, with the participants and new participants. There are enough ways to pass on the gift of education to ensure a world where everyone should have enough.
Students were shocked to learn that 1 in 8 people will go to bed hungry each night. Then they learned about Heifer International-an organization that “provides livestock for struggling families who have few resources and need an ongoing source of income,” and how those “gifts help families lift themselves to self-reliance.”
Our son is about to turn 12, and two months ago he said he wanted to talk to us about his birthday. We thought, "Here we go - what does he want this year?" Instead he shocked and amazed us by saying that he had everything he needed and he would like to donate the money we would have paid on a present for him to charity.
High school student and 4H member Madden Shanks was motivated by her community service class at Friday Harbor High School to organize a livestock auction to support Heifer International. Having raised livestock through 4H and San Juan County Youth Livestock, Madden knows how important animals can be to struggling families.
Can you think of a more appropriate day to kick off the Heifer Project than Mother’s Day? Heifer is all about mothers, mothers and their babies. Heifer mothers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from tiny, little fish to….well, big mothers with udders like me. Have you ever seen a finer specimen?
Napa Sonoma Heifer volunteers were honored to host a 70th anniversary celebration at Wombats' Farm in Napa, Calif., the sustainable farm of Carole and Keni Kent, May 3.
I am thankful for the way Heifer makes those first lessons in giving so accessible for children. I know that this program is helping my children just as much, possibly even more, than the families who receive animals. He knows those animals are helping people - and that HE can help too.
The Introduction to Ethics class at Ozarks Technical Community College, Table Rock Campus in Hollister, Missouri hosted a poster session that featured Heifer International.
The Saint Joseph Regional School Builders Club held a Heifer Fair Share Meal on April 16 to demonstrate the reality of hunger across the globe.
My daughter and friends worked together on making an decorating greeting cards for Easter/Passover/Spring.
Thanks for attending Beyond Hunger: Communities of Change NYC and celebrating 70 years of impact with us. We hope you'll continue to support our work by being a seed of change in your own community.
At Heifer's Beyond Hunger event in New Canaan, Conn. on April 12, staff, volunteers, and supporters gathered at the Carriage Barn Arts Center to celebrate Heifer's 70 years of building a sustainable future.
A group of thoughtful, committed vet students at Texas A&M University created, led, and volunteered to host a banquet where all the proceeds were donated to Heifer International.
In January of 2014, my Builders Club students decided that they wanted to do a new service project. Several students had heard of Heifer International before; one even had a donation made on her behalf for a gift. After a bit of research, the club decided that this was a project worth carrying out.
Late in October 2013, the Sunday School decided to raise money to buy a water buffalo for Heifer as a Christmas present. Barb Oakes, a Heifer volunteer in the area, attended their services in December and offered a challenge: if they raised enough money for two water buffaloes, she would match them.
If you asked Zoe Prekop about herself, she would say she is a junior from Chicago that loves traveling, exploring new places and even cliff jumping! But in addition to being a fun-loving teen open to new ideas and experiences, Zoe has been a huge advocate for ending hunger and poverty and organizing support for Heifer International.