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Forwarded by Judi Gilbert

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese Proverb

Beatrice Biira ,19, from Uganda is attending a post-graduate boarding school in Northfield, Mass., all because of a goat named Mugisa. The money Miss Biira’s mother received from selling Mugisa’s milk and offspring enabled her to send all eight of her children to school. Miss Biira’s story was captured in a children’s book called, Beatrice’s Goat, by Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter. She also appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show to tell her story of devastating poverty and how a small livestock gift can change a life forever. Having already applied to 11 universities, Miss Biira hopes to live her lifelong dream of education in America. From a village without electricity to an American university – a goat’s milk can go a long way.




Miss Biira’s family received the goat from Heifer International, an organization which lives the famous Chinese proverb.

Heifer International is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

Since its establishment in 1944, Heifer has helped 4.5 million people in 115 countries, and its impact has been remarkable.

Heifer’s strategy to end hunger and poverty consists of three components: Livestock, training, and planning.

Heifer’s livestock consist of anything from water buffaloes to bees, and includes goats, chickens, and cows. Heifer chooses to give livestock to starving families because “Livestock offer one of the best resources for ending the cycle of chronic hunger and poverty that plagues two-thirds of the planet,” said Jo Luck, President of Heifer International. Livestock provide a sustainable source of protein as well as marketable products such as leather, wool, eggs, or milk.

The gift of livestock is considered a “living loan.” Recipient families must repay their loans by giving one or more of their animals’ offspring to another family in need. The practice of “giving a gift” permits project sustainability, develops community, and enhances self-reliance and self-esteem.
Training is a crucial part of Heifer’s program. It not only teaches farmers how to care for their livestock, but also how to “use their land productively and how to restore and preserve the environment,” said Luck.

Planning, the final component, includes organizational development, management, record keeping, reporting, and evaluation.

These components work together in a dynamic yet simple way that provides a sustainable approach to ending world hunger – “one animal, one family at a time.” Heifer’s approach is not temporary, nor is it a handout. Its goal is to secure a future in which generations of people have hope, health, and dignity.

If you’re wondering how you can get involved, Heifer provides several avenues for participation. Study tours are trips that last 7-21 days, usually with a group of 12-20 people. During the tour, you visit another country and participate in community evaluations, provide livestock training, or actually farm the land.

If you live near a Heifer regional office, you can also volunteer to work there or at one of their three learning centers where Heifer conducts agriculture experiments. The best way to contribute is to donate money to the organization. For more information about Heifer International, visit or call toll free (877) 663-1683.



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