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About Heifer

Working with communities to end world hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.

Dan West, founder of Heifer International. Photo by Kermon Thomasson / Church of the Brethren
Dan West, founder of Heifer International. Photo by Kermon Thomasson / Church of the Brethren

A Cow, Not a Cup

Dan West was a farmer from the American Midwest and member of the Church of the Brethren who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary refugees once a day was not enough.

And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?

That "teach a man to fish" philosophy is what drove West to found Heifer International. And now, nearly 70 years later, that philosophy still inspires our work to end world hunger and poverty throughout the world once and for all.

How Heifer Works to Empower Families

  • By Training People in Sustainable Farming

    We teach people how to use environmentally-friendly farming methods, create and operate businesses, and support their communities with their knowledge.

  • By Helping Farmers Gain Access to the Market

    We strengthen entire communities by making large-scale improvements to existing economic systems to benefit farmers.

  • By Empowering Women

    We help women develop leadership skills so that they can have access to greater opportunities such as education and entrepreneurship.

Passing On The Gift

The core of our model is Passing on the Gift. This means families share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities.

The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve self-reliance. We do this by providing them the tools they need to sustain themselves, and it's thanks to the generosity of donors like you.

World Ark Spring 2018

World Ark Magazine

World Ark is published quarterly and updated weekly on the web. Check out our latest issues!

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