The difference a cow makes in Burundi

Burundi (FH) — [Editor’s Note: Food For The Hungry’s mission is to walk with churches, leaders, and families in overcoming all forms of human poverty by living in healthy relationship with God and His creation. It’s the Gospel lived out. What follows is a description about how a cow, reconciliation, and hope come together in the name of Christ.]

(Photo of Claver milking his cow courtesy Food For The Hungry)

(Photo of Claver milking his cow courtesy Food For The Hungry)

Faced with ethnic discrimination and unrest, displaced millions and stalled agricultural and economic development for over two decades, Burundi is considered one of Africa’s poorest nations. Yet, its resilient and joyful people are working hard to rebuild a peaceful nation through sustainable means with the help of Food for the Hungry (FH).

Agricultural and economic needs are being addressed through local resource development and training for farmers. In the village of Nyakarama, FH chose Mukunzi Claver and his wife, Kayobera Pascasie, along with their four children, to become a model family.

Model families must learn to meet certain basic requirements. Claver’s family practices good hygiene and nutrition and has adopted good practices in agriculture. He and his wife understand that their children need to attend school and get an education. Claver received a milk cow, along with training on how to care of the cow and how to market milk not needed by his family.

Before long, the cow started to produce six to eight liters of milk each day. That’s more than a family of four needs, giving Claver a way to produce income for the family’s other needs. After only a month, the children began to show signs of growth because of the addition of fresh milk to their diet. Claver exclaimed, “Can you imagine what they will look like in six months?”

With improved health and a source of income, Claver knows that this one cow has transformed his family. Before, he could only dream of sending his children to school. Now, not only can he afford to buy school materials, but he can also purchase soap, cooking oil and other necessities.

The cow even made it possible for Claver to add even more nutrition into his children’s diet–and to earn more income. He made a compost pit of the cow manure, which he uses to fertilize his crops. Now instead of yielding only 176-220 pounds of yellow beans from the 88 pounds of seeds which he planted, he is able to harvest 1,012 pounds! With that much harvest, he is able to feed his family sufficiently and still have some left over to share or sell.

How does Claver feel? “I thank God and FH for their support that has changed the life of my family.”

Through FH, individuals, churches, and youth groups can provide the funds for a cow for one family or more families. You can be a part of changing the lives of families like Claver’s by giving something you may never have imagined: a cow.

Visit the Share-A-Cow page to find out how you can become a part of this worthwhile cause.