i’ve spent the past couple days speaking to mothers on the topic: “how to raise justice-minded kids.” i’ve been so encouraged to see them respond to the idea and commit to intentionally raise their kids to care for issues of social justice and inequality.
at the conclusion of one of the seminars, i had a mother approach me and mention the christmas gift catalog at heifer international appropriately titled: the most important gift catalog in the world. she had thought of it as a great way to get kids involved in eradicating poverty during the christmas season. i couldn’t wait to check it out.
essentially, the program works likes this: 1) a donation is received from an outside source to purchase livestock (heifers, goats, sheep, llama, buffaloes, chickens, ducks, bees, etc.); 2) the animal is donated to a family in need; 3) the family is trained in caring for the animal; 4) the family is fed through the new gift; and 5) the family commits to “pass on” the offspring of its animal to a new family in need.
it’s a wonderful approach to addressing the crisis of global poverty and it’s a wonderful alternative gift idea for a typically materialistic holiday. instead of spending money to increase the clutter in your own home this holiday season, consider feeding the hungry instead. gifts range from $20 (chicks/ducks) to $500 (heifer).
I like giving Kiva gift certificates as an option. The recipient chooses who the money will be loaned to and then when the money is repaid, another loan can be made. This is great for kids as they are active in seeing who is getting the money, how it is improving their lives, and the process is repeated multiple times!
These schemes aren’t as good an idea as you might think.
Wow! That is such a great article!
If the environment supports it, it makes common sense to grow food-bearing trees instead.
A vegetarian diet is healthier.
I have been involved with Heifer for a number of years. Veterinary care is provided by locals who are trained by Heifer. Before an animal is given training is required in the care of the animal. Housing is built, and inspected to ascertain that it will properly protect the animal. Many animals can live on fodder that is inedible to humans (while improving the soil with fertilizer, increasing the family’s produce). Original gift animals are purchased nearby (in-country or in-region) stimulating the local economy.
Please, don’t disregard Heifer based on this article. The organization follows the gift recipients, and their lives are improved, as are the lives of their neighbors, while community is fostered to counter a history of warfare in many regions.
I love this idea.