How a local business is helping drive away poverty, one goat at a time

Campbell Auto Group, a host of family-run car dealerships in the greater Seattle area, has had a unique way of supporting the work of World Concern for the past six years. And every Christmas, they do something incredible. In an effort to change lives around the world through their Drive Away Poverty: Buy a Car, Give a Goat campaign, Campbell Auto Group partners with us and the community by donating a goat for every car sold in November and December. The impact? Changing thousands of lives around the world each Christmas!  Over the years, they have given more than 3,000 goats to families in need around the world in places like Bangladesh and Haiti.

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“Sometimes it seems customers are more excited about their stuffed goats than their new cars which is saying a lot!” – Kurt Campbell

“Goats are a very tangible way for us to help people suffering from dire economic circumstances in some of the poorest countries in the world,”  explains owner Kurt Campbell. Kurt has had the opportunity to travel with World Concern to some of our projects in Sri Lanka and witness the incredible impact a goat can make in someone’s life.

“Many years ago I had the opportunity to see firsthand the power of a 4-legged bank account,” says Kurt, “The idea of giving a family a goat is so simple it’s brilliant…they are hearty animals that already live in some of the toughest regions in the world…this amazing animal can provide a healthy diet and income that will allow these families a brighter future.”

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Owner of Campbell Auto Group, Kurt Campbell, is a big fan of helping families in need around the world through the gift of a goat!

Kurt and his team look forward to this special season every year and even incorporate live goats into their TV commercials! Posters of children with their goats from around the world can be found decorating their showrooms along with stuffed animal goats.

“We make sure every customer who buys a car from us receives a stuffed goat as a reminder of the difference their purchase makes in the lives of others,” Kurt explains, “Sometimes it seems customers are more excited about their stuffed goats than their new cars which is saying a lot!”

We’re so grateful for businesses like Campbell Auto Group that choose to partner with us in such a profound way during the Christmas season, allowing the community to have an impact in changing lives around the world.

To learn more about the Drive Away Poverty: Buy a Car, Give a Goat campaign visit our website here!

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Can a goat really change a life?

Give a goat, change a life. If you’re anything like me, you may be asking yourself, How does that work? This time of year, we talk a lot about goats and the impact they can have on a person’s life; especially those living in extreme poverty in places like Haiti and Southeast Asia.

A single goat given to a child in places like Haiti can earn a stable income and provide opportunities for kids to go to school and save for the future.
A single goat given to a child in places like Haiti provides nutritious milk and a stable income.

Maybe you’ve seen our photos of cute kids from around the world with their goats playfully draped around their necks and maybe you’ve even given the gift of a goat to someone in need, but have you ever wondered if and how a goat can really change a life?

For me, it wasn’t until I heard Khuki’s story that I began to understand…

Khuki is among the poorest of the poor in her low caste community in Bangladesh. For her, every single day is a struggle. Growing up, she barely had enough food to eat or a shelter to sleep under, let alone the opportunity to go to school. Life after childhood only became more difficult for Khuki.

Like many young girls whose parents can’t afford to care for their children anymore, Khuki was married off by the time she just 15 years old. Five years and almost three children later, Khuki’s husband began abusing her and eventually left Khuki for another woman. Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon for many women like Khuki, who end up alone, rejected and without any hope in a country that does not typically value women.

Pregnant with her third child and fearful that her two daughters would starve, Khuki had no other option but to go door-to-door begging her neighbors for help. Khuki had reached the end of her rope.

Soon after her son was born, she heard about World Concern’s micro-credit program for the poorest women in her community. She learned how something as simple as a goat given to women just like her —widows, the poor, the hungry and the uneducated—can help give them a second chance. This was the opportunity that Khuki needed to get her life back on track.

A single goat gave Khuki the start that she needed to support her family and gain a sense of dignity.
A single goat gave Khuki the start that she needed to support her family and gain a sense of dignity.

Before she knew it, Khuki finally had a stable source of income. She was now the proud mother of three children and one kid goat. Khuki began selling the goat’s milk, allowing her to earn a stable income, save money, and eventually purchase more goats. For the first time in her life, Khuki is able to provide for herself and her family. More than that, she now has a sense of worth and dignity that she has never known before.

Khuki has earned enough money to invest in more goats and even built a house for her and her three children.
A single goat multiplies and people like Khuki can earn even more income from the offspring of their goat gift.

“I understand the importance of education and sending my children to school,” Khuki explains, “…the support has opened new doors for me and my family.”

In fact, recently, Khuki has been able to build a small home for her and her children to live in, something she never before would have thought possible. And to think, it all started with a goat!

Now through midnight tonight, Tuesday, November 29th, your gift will multiply when you give a goat to someone just like Khuki, changing not one but two lives this Christmas season!

How one family radically changed their Christmas giving

What if your family spent less money on Christmas gifts this year?

What if you focused more on giving and helping others instead?

What if you did something amazing, like bringing clean water to a desperately poor village?

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Several generations of Rod Robison’s family gather at Christmas. Last year, they donated enough money for a well in Somalia.

That’s exactly what Rod Robison’s family did last Christmas – and they’re doing it again this year.  Instead of spending hours in crowded shopping malls, spending loads of money on “stuff,” Rod’s entire extended family pooled their money and raised enough to pay for a well for needy families in Somalia.

He said the idea came after his son Jordan, a freshman in high school, did a report how the lack of clean water impacts poor communities – causing sickness, loss of productivity and income, and perpetuating poverty.

Rod, who had given gifts to family members for years from World Concern’s Global Gift Guide, sent a letter to all of his extended family members who gather in Dallas for Christmas each year.  Here’s part of that letter:

“In a real sense, the lack of clean water is drowning people in a cycle of extreme poverty that continues from generation to generation.  That is, until someone steps in to help break that cycle.

That’s what I’m suggesting the Robisons, Herringtons, Hansons, and Lambs do this Christmas.  Break the cycle for one village.

During Jordan’s presentation he held up a catalog from World Concern.  He showed the kids in his class how they could buy ducks, chickens, pigs, or goats for a family caught in the grip of extreme poverty. Or even a well for an entire village in desperate need of clean water.

He challenged his fellow classmates and their families to spend some of their Christmas money this year on someone else.  Someone in desperate need.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate God’s grace this Christmas than to share some of that grace with someone who needs it badly. Can you?”

Rod’s family members were thrilled with the idea. His daughter, Jennifer, a mom of twin one-year-old boys, said she and her husband had asked for only gifts that helped others, like those in the Global Gift Guide.

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Some of Jennifer’s immediate family members who received Global Gift Guide gifts for Christmas.

“My parents did a great job of teaching us there are lots of people who had less than us,” said Jennifer. “We have enough stuff. We really wanted to do something for someone else. At Christmas, we’re celebrating Christ’s birth, but what are we really giving to Christ on his birthday? He says, ‘Whatever you’ve done for the least of these, you’ve done for me.’”

The family raised most of the $3,000 for a shallow well in Somalia, but they also had others join their efforts. Rod shared the story on a radio station and one of the hosts asked afterwards if she could donate to their project. They ended up raising several hundred dollars extra and were able to give some animal gifts as well.

“It was very exciting to see it come together,” said Donna Lamb, Rod’s sister. “We were thrilled to be a part of it.”

Rod, who is the host of a radio program called “Radical Stewardship” on the Family Life Radio Network, said he hopes others will consider changing their mindset from one of ownership to one of stewardship.

“We were put on this earth for a greater purpose than heaping stuff on our laps – to use what God has blessed us with to help others,” he said.

Rod suggests families start by taking 10 to 20 percent of what they would normally spend on Christmas and putting it toward helping others. “That’s going to buy a lot of good,” he said. “The stuff you could have bought with that money doesn’t mean a lot, but it means the world to someone else in need.”

See more gifts that change lives at www.globalgiftguide.org.

Why I give gifts that change lives

Jean Myrick, Global Gift Guide donor
Jean Myrick gives life-changing gifts (including goats like this one!) through World Concern’s Global Gift Guide every year.

Jean Myrick doesn’t bother with crowded shopping malls, or hunting for the “perfect” gift for her family members. She uses World Concern’s Global Gift Guide for all her Christmas giving.

“Since my family has grown so numerous, it is impossible for me to know what each one wants for Christmas. Most of them are trying to downsize, and I dislike the idea of wasting money on unwanted gifts,” says the grandmother of 19. “Besides, at age 88, it is difficult for me to go shopping, and there is always the problem of making equal gifts.”

“I use the Global Gift Guide to solve this problem. I choose a number of gifts that sound good to me. I am pleased with how practical and ingenious the possibilities are. Then I ask World Concern for enough gift cards to go around,” explains Jean.  “When we gather for Christmas, I pass out the cards, and people share with the others what has been given in their name.”

Everyone is grateful not to be taking home the wrong-sized sweater or an unwanted knickknack.

“One year for Christmas, Mum gave me the gift of a latrine for a poor village. I was delighted with such a pragmatic gift, knowing the huge importance of safe drinking water and the connection between this and proper sanitation,” said Jean’s daughter, Anne Saenz. “It was great to see World Concern using this to help people in developing nations. Truly a thoughtful gift!”

For Jean, the Global Gift Guide is a practical resource that helps her “shop” for her whole family. But more importantly, she says, “I and my family have the satisfaction of helping meet the real needs of desperately poor people.”

If you’d like to make a difference through meaningful gifts that help change lives, join Jean and thousands of others who are changing the way they give—to their families, and to those struggling in extreme poverty.

Shop online: www.worldconcern.org/ggg

From one scarred hand to another

This week we received a donation of $60. While that might not seem worthy of its own blog post, it is. Trust me.

The check was sent by Kim Kargbo, the director of Women of Hope International, a fellow Christian nonprofit that helps women with disabilities in Sierra Leone improve their lives.  I called Kim to learn why another humanitarian agency would send us a donation instead of putting it toward their own programs.

The story she told me confirmed my belief that anyone, in any circumstances, can be changed by giving.

A few months ago, Kim and her staff held a meeting with the women they serve. They do this each month to talk about issues related to their disabilities and ways to overcome them.

These women live hard lives – most of them are beggars themselves, living on less than $1 a day. Women of Hope helps restore dignity and purpose to their lives through their programs.

“I really felt like the Lord was telling me to challenge them to look outside themselves,” recalled Kim. “To go beyond themselves, and he would bless them.”

Having heard about the famine in Somalia, Kim went online to look for a video she could show the women. She came across World Concern’s Eyewitness to the Famine video and shared it with them.

She also shared with them the story of the widow in 1 Kings 17 who was suffering in a drought and preparing her last meal when Elijah came and asked her for food. The widow trusted God and gave all she had, being promised, “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.”

The women were moved by the video and Kim’s explanation of famine. Most of the women are illiterate and some didn’t know that Somalia even existed. But they knew about refugee camps from their own country’s experience with war.

Then, Kim asked them a question. “If any of you didn’t eat today, would you die?” They all shook their heads, no. They might be hungry, they said, but they wouldn’t die. “Well, some of these people, if they don’t eat today, will die,” she said. “Do you think there’s anything you could do to help?”

This time they nodded their heads, yes. Even if each of them pitched in just a few coins, surely it would help a little. Kim agreed and told them that Women of Hope would match whatever they raised.

The women returned a month later for their Christmas party and had raised a bit of money, but not much. They wanted to do more. So they decided to take an offering that night. What happened next was amazing.

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A blind woman in Sierra Leone is led forward at the Women of Hope International Christmas party to offer a donation to the famine relief.

About 50 women came forward to give. One by one, they lined up – blind women being led by the hands of children, and others in wheelchairs – to drop their few coins in a cardboard box.

At the end of the night, they had $30. With their matching gift, they were able to send $60 to World Concern.

“I know it’s not much,” Kim said when I spoke with her on the phone.

“Oh, but it is,” I said. We’ve been asking donors to give $60 to provide emergency food rations, access to clean water, and long-term assistance to a family affected by the famine.

“It’s perfect.”