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!

A Goat is a Treasured Asset for Fania

Have you seen the 2014 Global Gift Guide yet?  One of the more popular items are goats and for good reason.  Read about a young girl in Haiti named Fania to find out why the gift of a goat means she’ll get to stay in school.

In the rural community of Mersan in southern Haiti there is a primary school called Ecole Mixte Bon Berger.  Since 2012 World Concern has partnered with this school by providing goats and husbandry training to students.  With a goat students are able to earn an income by selling the goat’s offspring and using the money to pay for school tuition and other supplies.

One of these students in Mersan is named Fania Bien-Aime, a shy 14-year-old girl who has a smile that is hard to forget.  She lives a 15 minute walk from the school with her parents and six siblings.  “I always walk to school.  In the beginning it was difficult but now it is easy.”

Fania with her goat

Fania recently received a goat from World Concern and participated in the training where she learned how to take care of her goat and how to maintain its health.

“I know how to take care of the goat because I learned some things in the training,” she said.  “When it’s raining I have to shelter the goat but usually during the day it sits in the shade because the sun is too hot.”

Now her goat is in heat and Fania expects it to become pregnant shortly.  When working with communities, the ‘long view’ must be taken into consideration.  There may be solutions that would provide temporary assistance to Fania, however this lacks sustainability and requires a handout to be given repeatedly.  World Concern is interested instead in long term solutions.

A goat is a treasured asset in rural Haiti because it represents a steady income.  “Each year a goat can give between six and nine kids, and she may produce kids for up to 10 years,” explains Pierre Duclona, World Concern’s regional coordinator for southern Haiti.

While a goat and relevant training may not produce immediate results, it will provide students like Fania with a way to earn an income for years to come and give her new skills which she can carry into adulthood.

Fania will soon begin the 6th grade and is looking forward to returning to class after the summer break.

Fania and her friend

“The sciences and mathematics are the ones I like.  I like to study,” she shared.  “Education is important so I can help my parents and also for myself to feel good and help in society.”

“I would like to be a tailor but I can’t sew right now.  For now this is the profession that is in my head,” explained Fania.  “You can get money from this skill because when school begins, parents need to send their children’s uniforms to get sewed.”

Fania’s goat receives vaccines

With a goat and specific training, Fania is well-positioned to earn an income and therefore continue with her education which will give her opportunities to provide for herself and her family.  It is because of your generosity and partnership that we’re able to help keep girls like Fania in school!  Give the gift of a goat today.

 

Goats and Girls Education: A “Baton” For Life

girls goats haiti1Although we’ve been taught that there is no “silver bullet” to combating poverty, education may be an exception.  The impact education can have in the lives of children—especially girls—is overwhelming.

–  One extra year of school boosts a girl’s future wages by 10-20 percent.

–  A girl who completes basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV.

–  Education drastically reduces child marriage. On average, a girl with 7 years of education will marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children.

If statistics are not convincing, listen to girls themselves.  I’ve found that in Haiti girls yearn to attend school and know full well the value of an education.

“School is important because you need to learn things so you can have an occupation,” said 12-year-old Rocheka who lives in the small coastal village of Crabier in southern Haiti.

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Rocheka with her goat

So what’s with the goats we talk so much about? And what do goats have to with education?  Well I’m glad you asked.

In rural parts of Haiti World Concern has found that the gift of a goat can help keep girls in school for the long run.  Here’s how:

In partnership with schools and churches, World Concern gives a female goat to a young girl who also receives basic goat husbandry training so she knows how to take care of her goat.  Once the goat has babies (called kids; funny but totally legit), the first kid is given back to the program so another child can benefit.  Then all other kids that the female goat gives birth to can be sold by the girl to pay for school fees and other related costs such as books, materials and uniforms.

This way the girl is given a skill (goat-raising) and she is able to contribute towards her education, reducing dependency and making her an active participant instead of a passive receiver.

There are three primary advantages to the ‘goat model’:

1.    Life lessons.  When a goat is initially given to a girl, she also receives basic goat husbandry training.  The training focuses on how to feed the goat and keep it healthy.  A goat is an asset in rural Haiti and represents an important source of income that girls can use to pay for school fees and other necessities.  It’s important from the beginning to give girls the skills they need to take care of the goat.  The goat husbandry knowledge they gain during the training is something they can use for years to come, even after they finish school.  Since a goat requires consistent attention, girls learn important life lessons such as responsibility, discipline and ownership.  Aside from the initial training, World Concern staff returns each month to teach girls and other students about additional tips and techniques for raising their goat.

2.    “Multiplying effect.”  When a goat is given, its impact goes beyond the girl who initially received the goat.  The first kid that goat produces is returned to the program so it can be given to another child.  This is one reason that our goat program in Haiti has existed since 1998 and continues to this day.  The gift of a goat has a significant impact in the life of a girl but it also is a gift that multiplies over time, impacting other children as well.

3.    The gift that (literally) keeps giving. “Each year a goat will give between six and nine kids, and she typically can produce kids for up to 10 years,” explains Pierre, World Concern’s regional coordinator for southern Haiti.  The kids that a goat produces represent income for a young girl so she can attend school and most importantly stay in school.  All goats, minus the first, are hers to sell.  Enabling a girl to earn an income and pay for school lightens the financial burden on her family and allows the family’s precious resources to be spent on other critical needs.

World Concern provides vaccinations to goats in the program as well as on-going veterinary care.  This ensures that the investment of a goat will truly benefit a girl long term.

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Rocheka (second from left) and friends outside their church in Crabier.

Rocheka is one of many girls in Haiti who are able to stay in school thanks to the gift of a goat.  Rocheka is a soft spoken yet determined and bright girl who has big dreams.

“After I finish secondary school, I would like to be a nurse so I can take care of children because many children suffer from disease,” she shared.

Youslie is a 7-year-old girl who lives in the village of Guilgeau and is currently in the second grade.

“In school I like to read stories,” she said.

Youslie recently received her goat and is enjoying taking care of it.

“I feed the goat twice a day things like corn and corn husk,” said Youslie.  “Once the goat has babies I will drink the milk.”

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Youslie (left) and her friend Belony in Guilgeau.

In Haitian Creole, the language spoken by all Haitians, the word baton is significant.  Translated directly it means ‘stick’ or ‘baton’ however it has a deeper meaning.  A baton can also be a skill or ability that a person possesses which will help them succeed in life.  This meaning is often used in reference to education.

Following earning a certificate from a trade school or graduating from high school, someone may say, “Now I have a baton I can use to fight in life.”  With a baton, a person is given a tool which will help them in their pursuit of a more healthy and productive life.

In Haiti, girls face many challenges which leave them vulnerable—generational poverty, limited financial resources and lack of opportunity.  At World Concern, we want to give girls a baton that will help carry them through some of these challenges.  Education is one baton that has a long-term impact on the life of a young girl.

Girls like Rocheka and Youslie are the future of Haiti.  Helping them stay in school is an investment in their life but also has an impact on their family, community and country.

Help us impact more girls in Haiti by giving the gift of a goat today!