It all started with a cow.
Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.
In 1944, the first cows sent abroad were donated by West’s neighbors and distributed throughout Europe following World War II. More than 67 years later, Heifer has expanded its mission, just as it expanded to 30 types of animals it now provides—from goats, geese and guinea pigs to bees, silkworms and water buffalo.
West’s vision of a worldwide program to end hunger and poverty was born of his Christian faith, and today, Heifer works with people of all beliefs—and no belief—to overcome poverty and hunger. We ask no faith statement from partners or participants and almost all staff in the countries where we have programs are indigenous to that country. Their religious beliefs vary widely, but they share Heifer’s singular commitment—to help poor and hungry people help themselves.
By giving families a hand-up, not just a handout, we empower them to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity, but our approach is more than that. By bringing communities together and linking them with markets in their area, we help bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.
Our animals don’t just provide project partners with a reliable source of food, but also a reliable source of income. Extra agricultural products, such as milk from cows or goats, honey from bees or eggs from chickens, can be both shared within the community and sold at market. This new income, coupled with the training in sustainable practices that our partners receive, allows partners to clothe their families, provide them with medical care and send their children to school.
And when not just one but many families gain this new sustainable produce and income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural co-ops, and forming community savings and loan groups to help fund entrepreneurial start-ups. Newly formed women’s groups help increase the communities’ full potential, as neighbors who may have never interacted now come together to help the community prosper.
It’s a lofty goal, but it’s happening! In communities around the world, our 12 Cornerstones model is helping people lift themselves from hunger and poverty.
Select a meaningful gift below to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. Then create a special honor card to share this unique gift.
Select your gift of choice:
When a family has a cow, every morning there’s a glass of rich milk for the children to drink before heading off to school. Classes are paid with the income from the sale of milk, and there’s even enough to share with the neighbors.A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day – enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein transforms sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.Better still, every gift multiplies, as the animal’s first offspring is passed on to another family-then they also agree to pass on an animal, and so on.And because a healthy cow can produce a calf every year, every gift will be passed on and eventually help an entire community move from poverty to self reliance. Now that’s a gift worth giving! Give a cow today!
$50 – $500
Entire communities depend on wool and meat from sheep. Struggling families use sheep’s wool to make clothes, or sell it for extra income. Sheep often give birth to twins or triplets and can graze even the hilliest, rockiest pastures unsuitable for other livestock.Some Heifer families use managed grazing techniques or zero-grazing pens to protect the environment and collect manure for fertilizer, which improves soil and pasture land.Warm in winter, cool in summer, waterproof and durable – wool is a valuable product that struggling families can use for clothing or sell for extra income.All over the world, Heifer partners are raising sheep to advance the cause against hunger and poverty. And, through the act of Pass on the Gift, they are also sharing training and animals with other families in need.
$10 – $120
- Light Up a Life With a Llama
A llama is a unique gift that everyone is sure to love, because it will provide a struggling family with a lifetime of opportunities.Heifer International provides llamas and their close cousins, the alpaca, to families living at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains of South America where no other animals can withstand the harsh conditions.Their wool is prized around the world for being denser, warmer and softer than sheep wool — making it possible for our partner families to earn a steady living by either selling the wool or making clothes and blankets.
$20 – $150
- In addition to providing livestock and training in its care, Heifer projects often teach families and communities about managing their water resources through sustainable agriculture. This includes using organic fertilizers from compost and animal manure, and contour planting which prevents erosion and preserves precious topsoil.Heifer also helps many families install Treadle Pumps, practice water conservation and use organic fertilizers to protect drinking water to improve their health. What could be a better gift than improving lives while also improving the environment?
- Goats Are Great for Families
The gift of a dairy goat represents a lasting, meaningful way for you to help a little boy or girl on the other side of the world.Goats can thrive in extreme climates and on poor, dry land by eating grass and leaves. The gift of a dairy goat can supply a family with up to several quarts of nutritious milk a day – a ton of milk a year. Extra milk can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families learn to use goat manure to fertilize gardens.Goats often have two or three kids a year making it easy for Heifer recipients to pass on the gift of a goat to another family in need. This great investment allows our partners to lift themselves out of poverty by starting small dairies that earn money for food, health care and education.
$10 – $120
- Girls often suffer the most from gender discrimination, and when resources in struggling communities are limited, they are the ones denied the opportunity to go to school in favor of their brothers.This cycle must be broken. And Heifer International donors are leading the way by supporting our programs around the world that are designed to give every girl the chance to fulfill her potential.This gift will provide a family in need with training and livestock so they can earn the income needed to pay for their daughter’s school fees and supplies.
- Green Energy Goes the Distance
For most families in the places where Heifer International works, cooking usually means gathering firewood by hand, and often leads to soil depletion and deforestation. Smoke inhalation in poorly ventilated homes often leads to chronic respiratory and eye diseases. But a biogas stove runs off methane gas captured from animal waste. They burn cleanly, reliably and efficiently.Purchase a biogas stove for one of our project participant families, or you can help a whole village by purchasing 20!
$50 – $1,000
A flock of chicks can help families add nourishing, life-sustaining eggs to their inadequate diets. The protein in just one egg is a nutritious gift for a hungry child. Protein-packed eggs from even a single chicken can make a life-saving difference.Heifer helps many hungry families with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year – plenty to eat, share or sell. With Heifer recipients’ commitment to pass on the offspring and training, the exponential impact of adding chickens to communities in poverty is truly a model that helps end hunger and poverty.Because chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available food scraps, families can make money from the birds without spending much. And chickens help control insects and fertilize gardens.
Ducks are delightful creatures – good for both people and the environment. Ducks add protein to a project partner’s diet from eating eggs, money in their pockets from selling eggs and ducks, and better crops in the fields, as ducks remove weeds and bugs and add fertilizer.Families that begin with a starter flock of ducklings can eventually manage hundreds of ducks. This enables them to send their children to school and offer them secure futures – and help others achieve the same success through Passing on the Gift.
Geese make a great gift, and here’s why: since some geese can lay up to 75 eggs a year the benefits add up quickly for families in desperate need of protein and a means of income. Geese are easy to care for because they don’t require much shelter and can adapt to hot, wet or cold weather. Geese can also find a good portion of their food by themselves, and they efficiently dispose of weed seeds and gobble up insects, slugs and snails.Best of all, geese are highly efficient producers of animal protein. And they’re vigilant “watchdogs,” loudly warning when uninvited guests arrive at the homestead.
What better way to tell that “some-bunny” special how much you care than with a trio of rabbits from Heifer International!Rabbits are raised by farming families all over the world because they require only simple foods, and produce manure that can immediately boost crop productivity in an organic and sustainable way.
Plus, because rabbits can have up to six litters a year, families can quickly Pass on the Gift and begin helping family after family boost their income and nutrition.
$10 – $60
The Gift Ark goes around the world — Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Wherever we find hunger, poverty and hopelessness, we answer with Heifer animals and training.
What does this generous gift mean? It means two of every Heifer animal … oxen, donkeys and water buffalo … cows, sheep and goats … even bees, chicks and rabbits and more … healthy, hardy animals that will go forth and multiply, improving lives for countless families and children, and passing on your spirit of faith and charity over and over again to places in the world where your generosity, kindness and vision are needed most.
- All around the world right now, there are families who do not have enough to eat. Many rely on handouts from emergency relief organizations. Yet malnutrition and hunger related diseases continue to take more lives each year than tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria … combined!There is a better way: The Heifer way. Heifer international gives families in need the power to feed themselves day after day by training millions of people around the world in sustainable agriculture, providing livestock so they can have a daily source of income and nutrition, and helping poor communities work together on behalf of future generations.Our Boost of Nutrition has everything a malnourished child needs to become healthy and happy: fruit and vegetable seeds to provide vitamins and minerals, chickens to provide daily protein from eggs and training in sustainable farming, and nutrition for parents.
- Millions of people around the world still lack access to clean drinking water. In some communities, water is extremely scarce. Fortunately, Heifer has a solution.In the impoverished communities where Heifer is working, many of the homes lack running water, and some families do not even have a well nearby. Instead, they must spend each day fetching water. This is often a chore left to the children — especially girls — leaving no time for school. But this is one burden we can easily lift by helping families and communities install irrigation pumps.
One of Heifer International’s most important commitments is to care for the earth. We believe development must be sustainable — that projects should be long-term investments in the future of people and the planet.
That’s why in addition to livestock, training and equipment, Heifer often provides families with trees. Tree roots hold together topsoil and lock in moisture and nutrients.
Heifer often uses fruit trees, which provide an additional source of food for families. Passing on seedlings ensures that this sustainable cycle of production continues.
$10 – $60
One of Heifer’s most important commitments is to care for the Earth. We believe development must be sustainable- that projects should be long-term investments in the future of people and the planet.
As bees search for nectar they pollinate plants. Placed strategically, beehives can as much as double some fruit and vegetable production. Although most Heifer partners keep bees as a supplement to family income, beekeeping can be a family’s livelihood. Your gift can help Heifer provide a family with a package of bees, the box and hive plus training in beekeeping- and this unique gift will be passed on to another family in need.
Heifer animals are like “living savings accounts” for struggling families, and the pig may well be the most interest-bearing.
Each gift can give a valuable source of protein, income from the sale of offspring and manure to nourish crops and soil and increase crop yields.
Pigs need little land and can thrive on crop and garden by-product scraps. An average sow can provide a family with up to 16 piglets a year. Pigs usually double their three-pound birth weight in their first week and can grow to more than 200 pounds in six months! This fast-growing gift means communities can be quickly transformed as offspring and training are passed on and on.
$10 – $120
- In the developing world, where much of Heifer’s work takes place, women are responsible for producing 80% percent of the food. Yet they own less than one percent of the land.Your gift provides Heifer training and assistance so that mothers will be able to work and become self-sufficient. They will be able to afford to send their children to school, pay medical bills and, most importantly, will give women a way to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.
$100 – $10,000
- Clean Water
- Improved Shelter
- Food and Income
When families are part of a Heifer project, they learn the skills they need to generate income that can be put toward meeting all their basic needs.
- Making a Heifer Gift is like providing the startup capital for a small business.And in some of the world’s poorest countries, there are hardworking families who are turning what is often a very small investment into a lifetime of opportunity. And it all starts with Heifer livestock and training in its care.Beekeepers are busy bottling honey, shepherds are opening sweater shops and dairy farmers are turning out cheese by the truckload.In many parts of the world, a few dollars is all that is needed to help a poor family turn their lives around. But we can’t just throw money at the problem. That is why Heifer Gifts of livestock also come with special training in small business management, saving and marketing with every microcredit loan we issue.
- Renew lives
Heifer’s Dream Basket is filled with shares of a sheep, heifer, goat, rabbits, and a flock of chicks. These animals give families milk for nutrition and a source of income. And with additional income there is money for school supplies, medicine and doctor expenses, and improved quality of living. The Dream Basket offers the hope a family needs for a sustainable future. And this hope continues as each family passes on gifts of animals and training to another.
Fish are frequently used in a system that combines fish with plants in a symbiotic environment. Most often, Heifer uses tilapia, due to their high resilience, adaptability and ease of reproduction. Give the gift of fish to provide a holistic and sustainable food production environment to a family in need.
$30 – $300
- Without a helping hand, poverty can prove impossible for many people to escape. But when you give a Heifer Gift, you are telling someone that you believed in them when no one else would.This gift will help a struggling family boost the productivity of their farm and increase their income. Training in soil conservation, irrigation and marketing will be combined with seeds, saplings or livestock so smallholder farmers around the world can transform their failing farms into dependable livelihoods.
Here’s one way to really make a splash: Give the gift of a water buffalo from Heifer International.
These gentle giants provide families in need with milk that can transform malnourished children. Plus, families with water buffalos can often plant four times more crops when they can sow fields in days that once took weeks to plant by hand.
It all adds up to better nutrition, and more income for struggling families to put toward clothing, medicines and education.
$25 – $250
Animals need food, shelter and medical care just like us, but in many countries access to veterinary care is limited. That is why Heifer International often trains individuals in project communities to become Community Animal Health Workers and teaches them valuable lessons in animal health, husbandry, breeding, nutrition and housing.
Your gift of a Community Animal Health Worker Kit can include a thermometer, stethoscope, hoof trimmer, scalpels, gloves, disinfectants and even important medicine — promising hope, health and happiness to all.
In parts of the world too dry for other livestock, Heifer is providing families with camels and training in their care.
Camels not only provide transportation, but they also produce milk that families can drink or sell – a tremendous asset for families living in harsh and unpredictable regions.
One family that has been helped by the gift of a camel is that of Sabina and Isaya Shakwet of Tanzania. They live in the rural village of Mkuru with their three children. Heifer supporters helped send 12 camels to their village, providing families like the Shakwet’s with milk and transportation. Through Passing on the Gift, there were soon 26 camels in the community.
“Through camels we get a lot of income,” says Isaya gratefully. “It helps children with education fees. We pay doctors once a month to come out and give medical car to pregnant and nursing women.”
These gentle creatures provide families with the resources they need to pull themselves out of poverty. A camel makes the perfect gift for honoring both friends and family for any occasion.
$85 – $850
Have a knitter in your life? Over the years, they’ve knitted you everything from warm wool sweaters to stylish mittens and scarves, but what do you get the philanthropic knitter who has everything?
This is just what you’ve been looking for!
Our Knitter’s Basket includes four of our fuzzy friends that are keeping Heifer partner families warm all around the world. Your gift represents a llama, an alpaca, a sheep and an angora rabbit — four animals that provide families with ample wool and endless opportunities to build a better life.
$48 – $480
Or simply give a donation for any amount. Heifer, Intl. will compile it with other donations and use it where needed most. Please join me in helping this extraordinary company extend our helping hands across the world and brighten the future of generations to come.
To view Heifer, International’s entire catalog or receive additional information, visit their website at https://secure1.heifer.org/gift-catalog
Thank you and God Bless!