Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heifer International

We're going to give a gift of money to Heifer International this year. We've done it in the past--I think we bought a flock of chicks a few years ago. This year we can afford to be a little bit more generous because we've been living more simply ourselves for the past year. That's also what allowed me to feel so free to continuously give to the Obama campaign. I'm sure I would have given once or twice in any case, but I gave almost every month for months. In fact, every time there was a debate, I gave. When issues like Reverend Wright or Joe the Plumber came up, I gave. It felt so satisfying knowing that combined with other small donations, the progressive side was pushing back against the Bush agenda and there was a very good chance that we'd win this time--and we did!

So, I know that when lots of people give to something, even a small donation, it joins together and becomes something much more substantial.

When you give to Heifer International, you are supporting a charity that supplies livestock to poor people around the world. If a family gets a couple of goats, they now have the means of enriching their own diet with fresh milk, but additionally, they can sell any excess and improve all of their lives. It's the same with a heifer, with sheep with a water buffalo. These farm animals supply nutrition, manure for fertilizer, and wool or milk or eggs to sell. Try to imagine the difference these animals might make in the lives of poor people who have nothing or very little. If people's bellies are full and there's a chance of improvement, they could buy building materials to make a warmer house for example, it enriches the people's lives and relations with others.

Part of Heifer Internationals program is teaching the recipients animal husbandry. They will know how to best care for their animals and they will pass on additional animals--that's part of the program too. So, one family's flock of chicks grows to a bigger flock and they pass on some of those new chicks to another family. And so on, and so on, and so on. That's better than a Fabrege shampoo commercial isn't it?

This is a simple idea. And it works. Whatever animals will work best in a particular area is what will be given to the participating families. This is also nonreligious--this isn't about saving people's souls. It's about saving people's lives and dignity. They will manage their own souls.

One idea of self help is "Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps." But, what if you live where there are no boots? You can't pull a strap on a nonexistent boot. Heifer International supplies the "boots". People can help themselves with these animals. They can improve their own lives and begin to make more choices and take more control.

Go to this page to find out more about giving to Heifer International.

Self reliance and choice and care and growth and motivation all can come about when people have a chance at living a healthy life. You don't have any of that if you're hungry. You can't have much of it, if you have no way of making your own money. Heifer's animals supply all of this.

Give if you can.


Susie said...

My hubby and I and his extended family love heifer and try to give every year to them.
As my father-in-law says.."Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime".

Laura said...

Yes, I think it's a brilliant idea. But, it's also one of those ideas that works because of how they manage it. It's very specific to each locale and they are really aware of the needs and which animals will best serve the people of a certain area.

Your father-in-law is right with that saying.

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