In all the years that I have had the privilege to learn and write about people and organizations who do earth-changing work all over the world, two things have stood out. One is that the best way to make long lasting change is to invest in people to empower them to make and sustain the change themselves. The other is that a lot of world problems actually have fairly simple solutions that can be achieved by a large number of people all doing small things. As a parent, my hope is to pass on these lessons so that my kids never underestimate their power to change the world. As a blogger, my hope is to pass on any opportunity I know for all of us to do the same.
A Cow Changes Everything
Enter Heifer International, an organization that embodies the ideals of empowerment and sustainability. Perhaps nothing demonstrates that more than their School Milk Feeding Program. Since 2008, Heifer’s program in Tanzania has focused on helping farmers increase milk production. Now, they are working on creating more diverse and viable markets for these farmers.
The School Milk Feeding program came out of the group think of farmers, government agencies and school districts, and it not only helps farmers sustain their business, but also increases the nutritional opportunities for school kids who may just grow up to be the next generation of farmers and businesswomen and men to keep programs like these going forever. Talk about full-circle sustainability! See why I love Heifer? They create simple, comprehensive and permanent change. See for yourselves.
The School Milk Feeding Program launched this summer when 1, 742 students in the Njombe region received their first 200ml milk packet at school. These kids will continue to get fresh milk every day of the school week for the rest of the year. One packet contains at least 1/4 of the daily calcium requirement for children. For just $75 a child would get milk every school day for one year. The program’s goal is to do just this for 9,000 students in the Njombe, Iringa, Mbeya, and Songwe regions.
Do I Really Need Gourmet Dog Food?
Wouldn’t it be easy to help? I mean, think about the things you spent $75 on this month. Now see which one you can skip and you’ve just provided a years worth of nutrition for a kid. Certainly, I can forgo fancy coffee or the hypoallergenic kibble I was forced by my vet to feed my dog for crying out loud.
Here is the other thing, my kids can wrap their minds around $75. They’ve all saved at least that much for a video game or tall boots. When I tried that money experiment with them a few years ago when each kid had three envelopes for buy, save, give-away, they really struggled with the charity envelope because their goals weren’t specific and recognizable enough. They all chose a charity but they weren’t sure exactly where their money was going or how much it was “worth” to the cause. Getting kids involved with this type of giving will not only be more concrete (40 cents a day!) but also more meaningful because they can all relate to a good, cold glass of milk.
Alright, Alright So What Do You Want Me to Do Lady?
Funny you should ask. Personally, if you’re like me and can’t resist these faces, I’d go right to the Heifer site to see what you can do. They make it easy, just like getting milk from a cow.
This post was written in partnership with Heifer International. All opinions are my own.
P.S. If you are looking for parenting guidance, to heal through mind-body services or simply need someone to listen, you're in the right place. You can learn more by visiting my Counseling & Coaching site .