How a cow changed their lives.

This Christmas you can give something that really makes a difference.

Meridian Cares partnering with Reach the Children invites you to change the lives of poverty-stricken families.  Give a hand up, not a hand out! 

In 2008, Roy Allen and his daughter Ann Webb, both from Utah, donated $600 to Reach the Children to buy a cow for a poverty-stricken family in Africa.

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Little did they know how much good this gift would do and how many-fold it would multiply. As subsistence farmers, Esther and Francis Obukana struggled to provide for their seven children (three sons and four daughters). However, their lives soon changed because Roy and Ann chose to make their own Christmas more meaningful than simply buying more material gifts for extended family members. Their gift of a cow to the Obukana family was life changing……for the receiver and the giver.

Reach the Children partners with local Community Based Organizations (CBO), in an effort to build upon what the Africans are already doing for themselves. The Shiebu group of Western Kenya is one of these groups. In order for a family to receive a cow, they must meet certain “readiness” criteria. The two organizations provided training and oversight and verified that the Obukana family was ready for the responsibility of caring for a cow.

In this situation an “exotic”(imported) cow was given to the family. The family named the cow Webo in honor of Ann Webb. The purchase of an “exotic” breed of cow guarantees that a much larger volume of milk is produced. Webo gave enough milk to provide much needed nutrition for the family and extra milk to sell for cash. The family was now able to begin the climb out of poverty.

With careful management of their resources, soon the family was able to buy five chickens.

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In no time at all these hens laid eggs and hatched 50 chicks.

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As these chicks grew they began to expand the population and they provided eggs to supplement the family diet with protein. In addition, all of the extra eggs were sold for more cash.

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This enabled the oldest daughter Josephine to attend secondary school and she is now two years away from high school graduation (which was not even expected before the gift of Webo the cow). Josephine is so grateful about being able to go to secondary school because 80% of the girls in Kenya are never able to complete that goal.

Webo also produces a lot of manure; which the family puts on their kitchen garden and their fields of maize corn, ground nuts (peanuts), and their fruit trees.

 

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The manure greatly enhances the fertility of the soil and thus, the production of their crops. Now the family has fresh fruits and vegetables to add to their diet and the extra produce is sold for …you guessed it…still more cash. With the cash they can now buy clothing, shoes, medicine and the children can get an education.

The story just gets better and better. The cash from the sale of milk, chickens, eggs and produce has provided the funds to start a commercial fish farm where they are now growing 600 tilapia fish; which they will sell to restaurants and local markets.

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Not only has this program dramatically affected the Obukana family, but because of the Reach the Children sustainability program; that takes the first two heifer calves of each cow to help two other families, two other families are directly benefited and can also become self-reliant. Then these two families give their first two heifer calves to two more families…etc., etc., etc.  Webo has already produced one calf which has been given to another family and is expecting her second calf very soon. As soon as the two calves have been “paid forward” the Obukana family will keep all other offspring and begin to truly grow their cattle herd.

Imagine the feelings you would have if you were Roy or his wife Judi; as they traveled to Kenya last month on a Reach the Children expedition and were able to meet the Obukana family in person and see Webo, and witness the results of this self-sustaining gift they made two years ago. Roy said it was one of the most amazing experiences of his life. The Obukana family wept openly in gratitude and could not thank Roy enough for their wonderful new life.  Roy wept as he contemplated the magnitude of the results of his “investment”. 

Imagine the feelings you would have if you were a member of the Obukana family. Imagine what you would feel each time you drank a glass of fresh milk, ate fresh meat, vegetables and eggs or put on a pair of real shoes to cover your feet from the dust and stones in the road. Imagine being able to get a much desired education; an education that would virtually guarantee that future generations of the Obukana family would not have to suffer the extremes of poverty faced by their ancestors.

We invite you to imagine yourself as a similar catalyst in changing the lives of poor African families who are able to be self reliant with proper knowledge (“teach them how to fish”) and tools (the cow is analogous to fishing gear). Then we invite you to become what you can imagine and be the “difference” in someone’s future.

Will you give so a family can be self sufficient with a new cow, or maybe a goat or chickens? Will you share so that a child can attend secondary school? Will you consider extended family Christmas gifts in the form of helping someone escape poverty?

You can change lives this Christmas. Please join Meridian Cares and Reach the Children as your partners in helping some of the poorest of the poor of Heavenly Father’s children. Click here to donate or you can get more information at www.ReachtheChildren.org or www.RTCprojects.org or writing info@ReachtheChildren.org.

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