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.
Last year our 2nd Graders voted to raise money for 1 cow ($500). We ended up raising enough money for one cow and MANY more animals ($1,349)! The money was doubled because we fundraised during a matching season. This year we hope to duplicate our efforts. The students of this year's 2nd Grade are excited to pass on the gift and loved reading Flora and the Runaway Rooster with Heifer International's very own Asmi Patel (who visits us each year to kick off and celebrate after our fundraising). They are empowered by last year's success and hope to have their own this year! Our school has children from all over the world - knowing that as we Read to Feed we are sending shockwaves of love and passing on the gift to an international community keeps the teachers wanting to do this year after year.
"What Heifer International means to me is putting animals into people's lives that really need them. Without Heifer so many people's food and land would be taken from them and without Heifer, hunger would still be a very big thing. Another thing that Heifer means to me is 'cow', Heifer means cow. To me cow represents all of the cows and other animals that have been given to people. Because of Heifer, stopping hunger has a very, very big chance. This is what Heifer international means to me." Submitted by Gertie A.
It's been a year since the unexpected death of beloved Leominster High School history teacher Michele Oshman, and her departure still resonates with faculty and students. "She had a really solid core group of people here who were friends and there's no way you can't feel her absence," said friend and fellow teacher Andrea Grimes. "There's definitely a light that's missing, but I also feel that people have tried to pitch in and fill whatever voids they can." For Grimes, pitching in means making sure that her friend stays remembered at one of her most favorite places by raising funds to have a play structure installed at Heifer Farm in Rutland. Please click the title of the story to read more!
When given the room, given the training, given the space, [leaders] pop up.Pierre Ferrari, Heifer CEO
As part of an economics unit, Altamahaw Ossipee Elementary's second grade students learned about donating money. Teachers read their classes the story of Beatrice and her goat to introduce Heifer International to the students, and students then prepared to open a lemonade stand to raise money. We asked parents to donate supplies, and we invited the entire school to visit the stand and purchase a glass of lemonade. It was a huge success! We raised $460.00!!! We used the money to gift a llama, honeybees, a flock of geese, a flock of chicks, a sheep, and a goat. We are so excited to know that we were able to help families around the world!
I just have to brag a little and share the story of my daughter, Rylie. She is an 8th grader at Clinton Middle School. Rylie had a school project of researching and reporting on something that she had a passion for. She researched several things on the internet and then found the Heifer International Send a Girl to School. She loved the idea of helping another girl across the world to go to school and have the opportunities that she has. Not only did Rylie report on this project - she raised money for this project. Rylie did a brief report of Heifer at our church one Sunday morning and asked for donations from the congregation and then she held a volleyball tournament at her school during their RTI (Free hour) and charged everyone $1 to participate. She had 20 teams involved including a teacher team. Through both of these events Rylie raised $353.00. She not only had enough to send a girl to school for $275.00 she also put the balance to the Women Self Help Group. I am so proud of her for going above and beyond to help with this amazing project.
Over two decades ago, a group of ladies met each other at a workshop and have been celebrating their friendship every year since. This past Christmas, Afton, Barbara, Cruz, Eleanor, and Gloria wanted to reach out with their support instead of gifting to each other. They researched the organization and decided together that they would give the gift of a goat. Afton wrote, "The goat that will be offered to a family comes with a lot of thought, best wishes, and support. This gift adds to our holiday season as we know it will add to many people's lives." Last year marked their 25th year of friendship! Thank you to Afton, Barbara, Cruz, Eleanor, and Gloria for your generous hearts and support!
This picture shows the baby jersey and mother jersey. It was taken about two weeks after the birth. | Sung Ji won Orphanage, 1963
"I am a clergywoman whose ministry has shifted from parish work to fiber art in the last five years. I recently sold one of my pieces. I try to match each piece with an appropriate charitable organization and you are the group I found to match this one. It is called 'Texture of Water' and is part of a texture series I did of the five elements. As a long-time supporter of Heifer International, I thought one of your safe water programs would be the ideal project to receive my donation. My hope is to keep the price of the piece low enough that is is affordable to a wide range of people, so that it can go to someone who needs it..." -Rev. Andrea La Sonde Anastos.
This year Celebration High School held a 5K to raise money to support the efforts of Heifer International. I am so happy to say that we had almost 500 students participate and we raised $6000. It was a great day and we look forward to doing it again! This picture is from a petting zoo we had at the end of the race because most of our students have never actually seen farm animals.
"My name is Lauren and I told my church about Heifer International. Before Christmas, my mom and I were going through our catalogs and I found this one. The next minute my mom asked who I was calling, I told her Heifer International. She had many questions, but she had to wait till I was done. A month later, I was speaking at church. I raised $2,055 to give to Heifer International..." Please click the title of the story to read Lauren's speech!
Students at Putnam Indian Field School hosted their annual Art Show, which showcased the beautiful artwork they created throughout the school year. The children adopted Heifer International as the charity to benefit from their work! Throughout the show, they posted their thoughts about what Heifer means to them to help their parents understand the importance of helping others. One student wrote, "Mommy and Daddy want to see our art, and we want to help the people who don't have things to have things and be happy." Please click the title of this story to access the full article!
I teach kindergarten at West Cypress Hills Elementary in Spicewood, TX! In my classroom I stress critical thinking, aiming to inspire students to be curious about the world. I tie in real life applications to my lessons, which increases student engagement and interest. When students have questions about a concept, maybe something we're reading about in the classroom or an issue they bring in from home, we take the time as a class to explore. In doing this it allows for exposure to research and collaboration. Recently, we read the book Beatrice's Goat and my students were very curious about Beatrice's life and Uganda. We did some impromptu research into Uganda and Heifer International and this resulted in the students wanting to make their own impact and with some brainstorming. We devised a plan to raise money for this organization... Please click the title of the article to read how the Welephants are reaching their goal!
Pamphlet produced by Heifer Project during the 1940's & 50's