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.
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Ms. Armstrong's Class | Garfield Elementary | Lewistown, MT
Our 7 year old wanted to buy a water buffalo as part of her Christmas gift. We offered to match her 50% and she worked hard taking care of neighbor's dogs, extra chores around the house, and saving any money she received as a gift for several months leading up to Christmas. She met her goal!
As I get older, I have started to realize that it doesn't take great acts to change the world, it takes each day looking at each moment and wondering.... "What could I do right now that would make a difference in the world around me?" So, on my granddaughter's first birthday, I thought, hmm... she's over 1100 miles away from me, but I feel just a bit inspired to do something that will make a difference today. I received a notification that Heifer was partnering with the Little Rock Marathon and they were looking for people to sign up and commit to raising funds for Heifer. I don't run - no really - If you see me running, something is chasing me... for real. But I thought, well why not give it a try. People may donate money to Heifer, just to see my updates and laugh at the grandma who finally decided to MOOVE! ... Please click the title of the story to read more!
I signed up for Team Heifer to inspire me to take on a bigger challenge than any I had done before. I have a group of friends that I have trained with in the past, and they were encouraging me to try a full Ironman race, but I just didn’t have the motivation. I felt that if I was going to put in that much work, time, and money, I would need something even more powerful than just a finish line to keep me going on cold, rainy, or windy days. I challenged my friends to donate the equivalent of the cost of the race to Heifer as a way for me to know that this race would mean more – I wouldn’t have to feel guilty that I was spending so much on a race when other people are struggling just to survive AND I would know that people were counting on me finishing which creates accountability when I just want to sleep in... Please click the title of the story to read more!
For Kimberly Ewing’s third grade class at Deer Creek School, the holidays aren’t just about receiving gifts. The students focused their holiday season efforts on giving, earning $1,200 in donations for Heifer International. Heifer will send a representative to give the students a certificate of recognition at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 3.
The 7th graders at Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury, MA have found a great way to integrate learning about Heifer’s work into their studies. After visiting Heifer Farm Learning Center and learning how Heifer helps families to rise above hunger and poverty, Ella and Hannah and their classmates completed cross-subject learning projects in Social Studies, Science, Math and English Language Arts to deepen their understanding of poverty and to hone their academic skills. Please click the title of this story to read more!
I received a catalog for Heifer Int'l in the mail in November. I am a beekeeper in Spring, Texas with a small business selling honey, body butter, lip balm and handmade soap. When I saw the Honduras Honey Bee project I knew it would be a perfect way for my small business to give back. Customers liked it as well and it was great to highlight Heifer Int'l. I was able to give $166 (10% of sales). I hope I can do it again next year! - Just Bee Well
Mr. Agler, from Rossford United Methodist Church in Rossford, Ohio, has collected over one million pennies in support of Heifer International! Please click the title of this story to read the full article!
Hello! My name is Anna Finkenauer and I am a teacher in Denver, CO. My second grade class has been studying what it means to be a good citizen so we decided to do a service project together. We looked at many different charity organizations and decided on Heifer International because of your mission to empower people in need. We loved to idea of raising money to buy an animal, the students had a blast looking at all the different animals and learning about them. We decided to host a hot chocolate stand after school to raise money. The class came together to create a plan, gather supplies and advertise for it. It was an awesome way for our class to bond and we ended up raising $700! Seeing our whole school come to support our stand was amazing, and many students have found a new passion for community service after this experience. We voted on what animals to buy and decided on a Heifer, a flock of chicks, a goat and two honeybee hives. Thank you for everything your amazing organization does, we are so excited to continue to raise money for Heifer International throughout the year!
I am happy to report that my first grade class raised $475 for our Read to Feed Christmas outreach project and read nearly 300 books in 3 weeks. 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 3 llamas which will provide annual income for 3 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 6 years and loving it every year!
The students of Lake Shore Senior High School (Angola, NY, USA) decided to do something a little different and very special this Christmas season. They bought llamas! Through the charity group Heifer International, students raised enough money to purchase three llamas for needy families in Peru. Through a matching grant with the organization, a total of six llamas will be donated. Enough for a "Lake Shore Herd." Llamas provide wool for clothing, milk for food, and transportation in the rugged terrain of the Andes Mountains. By donating the llamas, students are helping feed families and allow the recipients to become more self-reliant. This fundraiser was sponsored by the Lake Shore Flying Eagles Club. Their goal was not only to help families in need, but to increase our student global awareness, become world citizens, and to inspire the spirit of giving. This truly captured the spirit of Christmas. Shown in the photo is Lake Shore senior student Cami J.
Our school of Westside Elementary in River Falls, Wisconsin just finished up its second year of Read to Feed and wow, was it a success! Students did an amazing job of reading, logging minutes, learning about how to be a global citizen, and collecting pledges throughout the month of October. Our school meets regularly in Pride Groups, which are two different grade level classrooms paired to participate in an activity based on the monthly character trait. During October, our students focused on learning about citizenship and more specifically how to be a global citizen through Read to Feed... Please click the title of the story to read more!