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!

Donate a Goat and Change a Life this Christmas

In June, I traveled to Haiti to see firsthand how gifts like goats for kids  and deworming medication are transforming lives there.

Our trip began in some places we’re just starting to work– desperately poor villages with great needs. Haiti is dotted with rural villages that lack development and basic services, like clean water, schools and health care. And to be honest, the poverty in this country can seem overwhelming.

Belony and her brother in Haiti relieve deworming medicine.
Belony and her brother Widlin hold the little white tablets–deworming medicine–that will make their stomach aches go away and allow them to grow.

Children in tattered, dirty clothes and bare feet ran out to greet us. Some had bloated bellies—a likely sign of intestinal parasites. This was confirmed as their mothers and grandmothers talked of painful stomach aches that woke their children at night.

“She has stomach aches all the time—so bad that sometimes she cries out in her sleep,” said Angelicia a mom of two. Her 10-year-old daughter, Belony, a wide-eyed girl with braided hair, looked no older than 7. Her legs were stick-skinny and her growth was clearly stunted. “She doesn’t eat well, and even if she eats, she’s not growing.”

We all watched with excitement as Belony chewed up one of the small white deworming pills we were distributing to children in the village that day. What a joy it was to be able to tell Angelicia that her little girl would be feeling much better very soon!

“I’m so happy … so happy,” she said. “I pray that the next time you come, you will see a change in Belony.” We assured her that this was certain.

As we traveled further along dusty, twisting mountain roads, I began to see evidence of progress and hope in villages where we’ve worked in for many years. After several hours, we arrived in a village I first visited in 2009 called Lyncee. There was such a

Healthy kids with goats in Lyncee.
Here are some of the healthy, happy kids we met in Lyncee, where World Concern donors have been giving goats and changing lives for many years.

contrast in the appearance of the children in this village compared to others we’d seen. Their eyes were bright and their bodies looked strong and healthy. Even their clothes were clean and pressed. The biggest difference I noticed—they were all smiling and laughing as they proudly showed off the goats they’d received from World Concern.

World Concern built a school here in Lyncee, more than 15 years ago. It’s totally self-sustaining now, and the classrooms are bursting with enthusiastic learners. They’re learning math and reading, of course, but they’re also learning animal husbandry through raising and breeding their goats.

Delona, an 18-year-old student who is studying in 6th grade (not uncommon in rural Haiti), received her first goat last year. Her goat got pregnant, and through the sale of that baby goat, she was able to pay for almost an entire year of school.

“It’s all I have, and it’s providing for us,” she said.

As I was talking with the children, a sweet, freckle-faced girl with a cheerful grin caught my attention. I instantly I recognized her as a young girl I had met in 2009.

Marguerite in 2009 and in 2012

Her name is Marguerite (I remembered this because it’s my grandmother’s name). Marguerite is now a healthy, growing 12-year-old! She’s doing great in school and, thanks to support from World Concern donors, she’s able to pay her tuition and other expenses through income from several goats she’s owned over the years.

I was so encouraged to see the progress in Lyncee. When you give gifts through the Global Gift Guide, you are a part of this progress.

Together, we are helping put an end to extreme poverty—one child, one family, one village at a time.

Please visit donateagoat.org  to donate a goat and change a life this Christmas.

Goats and other gifts enter the blogosphere

Our Global Gift Guide has been getting shout outs from bloggers, Facebook fans and Twitter users about creative ways to give gifts that matter. It’s like having our own team of social media elves!

Here are some of our favorite posts promoting alternative gift giving. Know of any others? Contact us.

  1. Rose Duryee, a missionary in Spain and avid blogger, used her love for the Oregon Ducks as a springboard to promote ducks as a gift for a struggling family in an impoverished country in her Nov. 26 post.  “As much as I love my ducks, they can’t feed the hungry, save lives, or give a struggling family an income,” wrote Rose.
  2. Blogger Marla Taviano holds a hand-made banner.
    Blogger and author Marla Taviano is selling these hand-made banners on her blog to raise money to buy a goat through the Global Gift Guide. Photo courtesy of MarlaTaviano.com.

    Sports blogger Phil Caldwell took the Oregon Ducks connection a little further, but successfully shared a great message on his Bleacher Report blog: money spent on new uniforms for every game could be better used to dig wells in Kenya or provide solar cookers for women in Chad.  (Disclaimer: World Concern has no opinion regarding how many uniforms any football team should have.)

  3. Jennifer Hanson declared to her readers that “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is buying a goat for a family in poverty.” She walked her talk by hosting her own elf party, inviting guest to dress up as elves and bring $5 to share some yummy treats and watch the movie Elf. Their pooled donations were enough to buy a complete goat package (goat, vaccinations and a pen) for a family in a country such as Haiti or Bangladesh.
  4. Author and blogger Marla Taviano is selling adorable, one-of-a-kind fabric banners on her blog in order to buy a goat from the Global Gift Guide. The photos of the banners and her family are precious!

In addition to blog posts, we’re thrilled to see tweets, re-tweets, and Facebook posts about creative ways to give gifts that matter this Christmas.

If you’re online and a fan of our life-changing work, please help us spread Christmas cheer to some of the poorest countries in the world by sharing the Global Gift Guide with your friends!

Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

Give A Goat – A Goat Donation Works!

This is Thermogene, a widow in Haiti. Give A Goat and help someone like her. Because someone decided to donate a goat, she has reason to smile.
This is Thermogene, a widow in Haiti. Give A Goat and help someone like her. Because someone decided to donate a goat, she has reason to smile.

Hope for many people has four legs and goes “Maaa!” It is time again to Give A Goat!

I bring this up because it is time once again to consider goats, and to invite them into our lives. I will buy several this year, even though I live in a city, and have nowhere for them to roam. I will buy several as Christmas presents for family, and turn them over to people who desperately need them. Give A Goat! It is truly Humanitarian Aid.

I recently took a trip with World Concern to visit Haiti, a country filled with wonderful people who struggle to eat, learn and find work. Then, last summer, three hurricanes and a tropical storm further ravaged the country.

I met families in Haiti who live on resources that would baffle most people. It is not unusual for someone to stake their livelihoods on a couple of goats, but that is exactly what people I met are forced to do.

I met a sweet grandmother in Haiti named Thermogene who lost everything – EVERYTHING – she owns in the hurricanes, including goats, and she was left without an income. For Thermogene, an income comes from raising a few animals, including goats. And the storm killed every animal.

When I met Thermogene, it was about 100 degrees. I was hot. It was dusty. She was dressed in her best clothes. She was ecstatic. What in the world would make this woman smile so much?

Someone decided to give a goat to her through World Concern’s Global Gift Guide.

Thermogene received two goats from World Concern, and with it she will be able to sell milk and sell the kids, when her goats have babies. People who donated through World Concern also gave her fruit trees.

These are such simple gifts. It is easy to donate – to Give A Goat. To Thermogene and so many others, goats provide life.

Check out goats and the rest of the Global Gift Guide at www.worldconcern.org/ggg

Haiti Humanitarians – Great Gawky Goats!

Goats are a prized commodity in Haiti. Poor families can raise and sell kids to pay school tuition.
Goats are a prized commodity in Haiti. Poor families can raise and sell kids to pay school tuition.

Goats makes me chuckle. Their crazy grins and non-stop noisemaking are a source of amusement for me. But I’ve seen first-hand in Haiti that these silly, awkward-looking animals provide a tremendous value to the very poor. They mean food. Income for medical expenses. Often, a single goat can pay for a year of school tuition. It’s hope with hooves.

Humanitarians at World Concern gives goats to families. Moms and dads often trust the goats’ care to children. Kids with kids, as we say. As an American, I thought of a goat as an unusual pet, but these are no pets. Goats do important work.

Some families drink goats’ milk and make cheese. Goats produce quite a bit of milk every day, often enough for families to sell the surplus in the marketplace.

Other families strictly raise goats to have babies. Once grown, the kids are put up for sale. I thought they might bring around $25 in a village marketplace. But in Haiti, the price of food is high. People are starving in the Haiti food crisis. These goat-keepers are able to make about $50 a goat. In Haiti, that’s a good chunk of an entire month’s income. Very often, that money sends a child to school, giving them a better future.

We’ve heard some tremendous success stories, like the family of that has raised nearly 20 goats over the last decade, allowing the children in the family to go to school. They know how to raise the goats well, and have truly seized on the concept. So it’s no surprise that goats are a hot commodity.

I saw grandmas receiving goats in southern Haiti. This is a country with no social support structure, so when Hurricanes decimated the region last summer, people there have been struggling. The storms killed crops – and animals. These goats were the first livestock they were able to obtain after the storm. There have been some hungry months. The grannies were so happy. A goat may be just livestock to us. For them, it’s a safety net against starvation.

Here’s how you can buy a goat for $35. Or – check out our “Complete Goat Package!”

Watch a video on this page about how World Concern helps during the Haiti Food Crisis.

A goat provides an income for this grandmother in Haiti who has little other income.
A goat provides an income for this grandmother in Haiti who has little other income.