This is the season of happiness and giving. Many people like to donate their time or money to various causes, such as charities that help the homeless or children living in poverty. The best part is that you don’t have to give alone. You can join up with clubs at your school, with friends, or even family to help someone in need. In fact, with Heifer International you can even buy a goat for a family across the globe for just a few dollars.
Heifer International believes an animal is the gift that keeps on giving. With the goal of ending hunger and poverty, the organization provides animals to families around the world. Locations include Nepal, Armenia and domestic U.S. locations like Arkansas. With training for the family, the animals begin providing products, such as milk, eggs or honey that can be eaten or sold for money or labor in agricultural fields.
The catch? That family that was gifted an animal then passes along the animal’s first offspring to another someone else in the community and the benefit cycle begins again.
Anyone looking to help can simply go to the website and check out their “gift catalog” to pick what kind of gift or project to sponsor. Flocks of geese, chicks or ducks can be as little as a 20 dollar donation while a camel is 850 dollars. If you’re low on cash and can’t afford to donate that 500 dollar heifer, there are even options to partially sponsor a gift.
In Bauko, Mountain Region of the Philippines, 8-year-old Sairene,and 6-year-old Brayle Omipet’s college fund is growing thanks to the hens and chicks they like to cuddle with.
The Omipet family received a female pig, two hens, a roost and multiple assorted plant seedlings after enrolling in the Heifer International Philippines Program. As their animals started reproducing and providing food, the Omipet’s income grew and so did their children’s college fund.
“Before, our family had no direction. We just lived one day at a time,” Juanito Omipet, father of Sairene and Brayle, said for the Heifer International blog, World Ark. “Now we have future plans. We plan to have a house of our own, and we are preparing for our children’s education.”
Gifts are not limited to animals. Irrigation pumps, health kits and stoves are also available for sponsorship showing how far the Heifer International program has expanded. Some “gift” options are even designed to empower women specifically or support sustainable agriculture programs, a tenant of the organization.
Even playing Internet games can now help send a cow across the world. With Zynga Inc., creators of social media games like FarmVille and ChefVille, Heifer International raised money to provide impoverished people worldwide with the tools and education to empower themselves.
During December, gamers could donate to Heifer International directly by buying goods in participating games, such as CastleVille or Pioneer Trail. But this is just one way Heifer International has expanded since it shipped its first group of cows in 1944.
So whether you want to swap an item on your holiday wish list or are looking for the right gift for a philanthropic friend, Heifer International can give you a role in ending hunger and helping families and kids like Sairene and Brayle.
Check out Heifer International at heifer.org!
Written by Laura Herrera
Photos by Heifer International