IDEXX supports the work of Heifer International

Mother, child and cow

Recently, 22 fourth-grade students at Harrison Lyseth Elementary School in Portland, Maine, embarked on a life-changing mission. They set out to raise money to purchase a selection of Heifer animals and water pumps for families in the developing world. The children read dozens of books, and with each page turned, raised dollars to purchase gifts for children less fortunate than themselves. This was Heifer International’s Read to Feed project in action.

IDEXX is dedicated to supporting organizations who share our commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of animals, people and the environment. Heifer International is one such organization. Heifer’s work goes well beyond placing a cow or goat with a hungry family. The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve sustainable self-reliance; through education and support, recipients of Heifer’s living gifts become stewards of change. Heifer projects do this on varying scales in a multitude of ways all around the world. They empower individuals by providing them with tools for independence and they cultivate entrepreneurial spirit by training those individuals to lead their communities out of poverty.

Giving the kids a leg up

In this spirit of support, IDEXX proudly matched the funds raised by the Harrison Lyseth students, allowing them to select several more gifts. Their choices included rabbits, pigs, bees, water buffalo and chickens.

School children in support of Heifer International

Harrison Lyseth Elementary School students with matching contribution from IDEXX

Jan Schrock, daughter of Dan West, the founder of Heifer International, lives near the IDEXX World Campus in Maine. IDEXX is pleased to have her as a resource in this important partnership.

“Growing up with the founder of Heifer International, I thought everyone would give a heifer so every family could have milk to give their children,” Schrock said. “We knew the difference between giving powdered milk and a cow, the difference between relief and development. If communities are strong and trained together, they will end hunger and poverty, send their children to school and produce strong leaders. They pass on the gift they were given, creating communities of donors versus recipients.”

At a recent visit to the Harrison Lyseth Elementary School, Schrock was thrilled to listen to the students’ thoughts on their experience. “They raised $545 through pledges from their parents, relatives, and others,” she said. “They read books during March, knowing they were raising money for poor, hungry children in our world. They were so motivated! And they were especially excited when IDEXX matched their gift. It may not have been a huge dollar amount, but the significance of the match to the kids will shape their beliefs about humanity for the rest of their lives.”

Man milking cow
Creating sustainable livelihoods

In 2014, IDEXX made a more significant contribution to Heifer International to support one of their more recent ventures, the East African Dairy Development (EADD) project. The framework for EADD is simple: create sustainable livelihoods for one million people in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

When IDEXX approached Heifer International with the offer to support their work, the EADD effort was instantly identified by both organizations as the most appropriate allocation for the contribution. Established in 2008 by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the EADD works with more than 200,000 farmers to improve dairy production and access to markets. In four short years, 27 milk collection hubs were developed, 10 existing hubs were improved, and 82 producers’ organizations were formed. Since then, EADD has grown to be one of the leading market-oriented development initiatives in eastern Africa, earning the farming families more than $131 million.

Heifer’s work is truly making global change, from the top of the world in Nepal to the African savannah and the Arkansas Delta here in the United States. Heifer’s approach involves enhancing the capacity of vulnerable small-scale farmers, especially women, to secure their livelihoods. Multiplied by strong social capital and women’s empowerment, Heifer’s work results in a sustainable solution to world hunger and poverty.

Visit heifer.org to learn more about Heifer International.

The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve sustainable self-reliance; through education and support, recipients of Heifer’s living gifts become stewards of change.