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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – December 23, 2002: Heifer International - 2002-12-21

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

One of the biggest problems in developing countries is hunger. An organization called Heifer International is working to improve this situation. The organization sends needed farm animals to families and communities around the world.

An American farmer, Dan West, developed the idea for Heifer International in the nineteen-thirties. Mister West was working in Spain where he discovered a need for cows. Many families were starving because of a civil war in that country. So Mister West asked his friends in the United States to send some cows. The first Heifer animals were sent in nineteen-forty-four.

Since that time, more than four-million people in one-hundred-fifteen countries have had better lives because of Heifer animals. The organization provides families a chance to feed themselves and become self-supporting. It provides more than twenty kinds of animals, such as sheep, goats, pigs and cows. Last year, Heifer International helped more than thirty-thousand families in forty-six countries.

To receive a Heifer animal, groups must first explain their needs and goals. They must also make a plan which will allow them to become self-supporting. Local experts usually provide training. The organization says that animals must have food, water, shelter, health care, and the ability to reproduce. Without them, the animals will not remain healthy and productive.

Heifer International also believes that groups must pass on some of their success to others in need. This belief guarantees that each person who takes part in the program also becomes a giver. Every family that receives a Heifer animal must agree to give that animal’s first female baby to other people in need. Families must also agree to pass on the skills and training they received from Heifer International. This concept of “passing on the gift” helps communities become self-supporting.

You can learn more about Heifer International and how to request an animal. You can write to the organization at Heifer International, Post Office Box eight-zero-five-eight, Little Rock, Arkansas, seven-two-two-zero-three, U-S-A. Or you can visit the group’s Internet web site at w-w-w dot h-e-i-f-e-r dot o-r-g.(

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.