It’s ‘Udderly Amazing!’ that a family can be lifted out of poverty in a matter of weeks, just by owning the right kind of cow!
One mother of five children recently explained that before she had a ‘good cow’ life felt hopeless. Her children were very weak and vulnerable to disease and she couldn’t afford to give them food each day; nor could she afford the fees for the children to attend school. They had no hope of anything ever changing.
However, within weeks of receiving a Friesian cow and getting an income from the sale of its milk, the family was able to buy food – the children ate every day, gained strength and, with money left over, they were able to start attending school. The teenagers are now planning to go to university – udderly amazing!
Bringing transformation – and hope
Many other families in the rural village of Ryarusera in Burundi have also experienced their lives radically changing through owning a ‘good’ Frieisian cow. These cows have been introduced to the village by Burundian man, Evariste Ndayiruke. Unlike the traditional long-horned ankole cattle which only produce a maximum of 2 litres a day of milk, the Frieisians provide 10 – 15 litres a day – providing families with both a source of income and of nutrition.
The Friesians are milked twice a day. The morning milk is taken to the city to be pasteurised and sold. The family receives a good price for each litre of milk, meaning these cows are generating a good income for the family, enabling them to buy food, pay school fees and medical bills and even other items like soap, cooking equipment and clothes. The evening milk is kept and drunk by the family, providing a valuable source of nutrition. In a country where there are high rates of chronic malnutrition, especially among the children, this is of critical importance.
The Friesians are kept in pens and only come out once a day to get some exercise. Now they don’t have to follow the cattle around as they roam free, as they had to with their old ‘useless’ cows, children are free to go to school, and the adults are released to get on with other activities such as growing crops or other pursuits to help improve their quality of life.
And it’s not just the families who are benefitting from this regular income and increased nutrition; the environment benefits too! Keeping the cows in pens is giving the land a chance to heal from decades of overgrazing by the traditional cattle. In addition the manure of the Frieisians can easily be collected as it’s contained within their pens and so is being used to increase the yields of the crops. So these Friesian cows really do have an ‘udderly amazing’ effect!
With such extreme poverty, most families aren’t in a position to buy these cows which could transform their lives so Hope for Tomorrow Global has been helping to purchase and import cows. Each family receives a cow – usually in calf so they get ‘two for the price of one!’ – and then agrees to repay the cost from their profits over several years, at a rate they can afford and with no interest on the loan. As the loans are repaid, these funds are used to purchase further cows, allowing more families to benefit and so it goes on!
Isn’t that just ‘udderly amazing’?!