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.
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.
There are a lot of ways to learn about math and geography using textbooks and maps, but the students at Forest Heights Middle School wanted to do something a little different. Christine Mignot, a teacher at the school, wanted the students to not just learn about pie charts and graphs, but life outside Little Rock, Ark. And what better place in our great state to learn about life outside of it than Heifer International.
For our stewardship project his year, we saved our change and gave it to the Heifer Project. The Heifer Project helps needy people around the world by giving them animals.
Miss Julia's classes saved their nickels, dimes and quarters, and each class donated a flock of chicks to a family in need in another part of the world.
Mike Agranoff and Dan Pelletier will be live in concert at an event benefitting Heifer International.
In August, members of the Sacramento Heifer Community Volunteer group traveled to Ecuador to increase their understanding of Heifer's work.
Heifer hero and science teacher at Nipomo High School, Mr. Paradis, won the right to kiss a pig at a recent Nipomo High School fundraiser.
The Joyful Noise! Gospel Singers have once again generously offered their talent to raise funds for Heifer International.
Passing on the gift is far more than a handy catchphrase for Heifer International. It represents the success of a family moving from recipient to donor, hope for a family to gain a sustainable livelihood, and continuation of the circle to lift families from hunger and poverty.
On the final day of 2013, members of the Improving Livelihoods in the Poorest District of Soc Trang Province project’s self-help group #1 warmly welcomed the Gluckman family to Phu Tam commune, Chau Thanh district. The married couple and their two children were vacationing in Vietnam and wanted to visit a Heifer project. They have been donating to Heifer International for 20 years.
The Jewish Community Foundation of the West's Teen Philanthropy Class in Sacramento, California awarded their first grant to Heifer International in November 2013.
A few months ago, Sara Rising of Kingwood First Presbyterian Church in Humble, TX had an idea to get the church members to work together in order to support Heifer International. When she had the thought, no one knew how big it would get!
Several years ago, we, and several members of our family, decided we didn't need any more gifts to ourselves since we had plenty already. We decided the best thing to do was to give to Heifer International, which is what we now do every year.
In November 2012, the Chemrouen Cheat Khmer (CCK) organization and Heifer Cambodia started the "Improving Income and Nutrition through Community Empowerment” (INCOME) project in our village. Our family decided to join the self-help group in late 2012 and things began to change.
Heifer has an established history of fighting hunger and poverty, but it doesn't end there. We are enacting social change, caring for the earth and ensuring a gift of hope that lasts for generations.
This Thanksgiving, I brought my family on board to Heifer International by giving a gift in their names. Each of the 24 family members was given a picture from the catalog of the animal he/she gave.
I love to ride my bicycle. In April 2012, I was involved in a serious crash in a bicycle race. It was a long recovery, but I am extremely thankful to be doing so well. To express my gratitude, I have a special project for 2013 called "A Year of Centuries". I am riding one century (100 miles in a single bicycle ride) each month. Each century highlights a charitable organization that is particularly meaningful to me. As a longtime supporter, I am so pleased to be riding on behalf of Heifer International for December.
What do you give someone who is 94 years old, has lived a very full life, downsized her home of 51 years and moved to a small, assisted-living apartment? And since that someone, as in my mother's case, is an individual who has spent much of her life giving to others, the gift of a goat from Heifer International would be perfectly appropriate! I am well known in my family for coming up with poems for special occasions, so of course it was expected that I would write one to accompany this gift.
On Sunday November 17th, Linda McBee and I had the pleasure of going to Fort Bragg to present the pastor, Dan Fowler, and his congregation, with an Ark Plaque for their generous donation of $8,000 for a goat project in Nduma near Nairobi Africa. We were warmly welcomed by the church members and were each given a gift of a jar of ingredients to make a winter bean soup.
The Xi Kappa Omega Chapter, of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, recently partnered with Heifer International for a reading of the children’s book Beatrice’s Goat in Oxnard, California. Beatrice’s Goat is based on Beatrice Biira’s real life story of how her life changed after her family received the gift of a goat from Heifer International.