Photo above: This ambitious 18-year-old is using his goat to help pay tuition for medical school!
What does financial security look like for you? Money in the bank? Good investments? To my great surprise I found that in Haiti, financial security can look a lot like a goat!
A team from our community visited World Vision Canada ADPs (Area Development Programs) in the central plateau of Haiti. On several occasions, we met families who had been recipients of goats through World Vision.
Their stories told us how receiving a goat brought tremendous financial stability to their families.
One woman explained how they sold a baby goat to pay for their son’s medical expenses when he became seriously ill. Another said that breeding and selling goats allowed their children to receive an education. Yet another woman told us how she gave baby goats to her adult children so that they too would have the same financial stability she would have.
Ambition combined with opportunity
We also met with one 18-year-old sponsored child whose goat had two babies just the night before. This articulate young man explained his plans to breed goats to raise funds for his long term goal of becoming a doctor. While raising goats alone cannot support his education, they are an important step in him reaching this important goal.
I am often impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of World Vision programs.
Working it out
When we visited the COBOCOL ADP, they explained how the program is introducing a new breed of goat. The larger goat produces more milk, and is of greater financial value.
The program began by distributing one goat to each of 100 families. Once each goat had babies (“kids”), one kid was returned to the program to give to another family. The remaining kids are kept by the family for breeding. As a result, each initial investment of one goat benefited one new family every generation – what an efficient approach!
We met one woman who had received this new kind of goat. Her goat had three kids. She gave one back to the program, kept one for breeding, and sold one for enough money to purchase the materials to build a new home. I was astonished that these goats were so valuable.
It is difficult to believe that a simple thing like a goat can be so revolutionary in the lives of families in Haiti. How amazing to know that our simple gifts can multiply up to so many blessings!
Bernie Zebarth is the Project Coordinator of the Freddylink Global Partnership Opportunity in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Through this partnership, Bernie’s community comes alongside a community in Haiti to help them become self-supporting.