Raising Global Citizens: Beatrice's Goat

Last Tuesday I highlighted microfinance and the book One Hen. Today, here's another book that will open your children's eyes to the needs of our world's children and the ways people can help.

Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter (illustrator) tells the story of Beatrice, a young girl growing up in western Uganda. Malnourished and unable to attend school, Beatrice's life improved dramatically when her family received a goat from Heifer International. She grew stronger and healthier because of the goat's milk, and eventually saved enough money from sales of the extra milk to build a weather tight house for her family and to go to school. (Note: If you purchase the book, a percentage of the proceeds go to Heifer).

I was lucky to have Beatrice visit my classroom in 2001. She was an intelligent, lovely, 16 year old. She spoke several languages and shared her story with my students in English. They were so moved, they began a fundraiser for Heifer. We have been regular supporters of the organization ever since.

Heifer International  focuses on raising people around the world (including the US) out of hunger and poverty by helping them become self-sufficient. They provide animals appropriate to the region in which a family lives and teach them how to keep the animals healthy and productive. When the animal has babies, the family "passes on the gift" by giving the offspring to others in their village. If you donate in someone's honor, Heifer provides lovely gift cards that announce your gift, or you can have an email sent to the recipient.

Perhaps you and your children would like to donate to Heifer International. You can choose what kind of animal you want to fund, which helps determine which country it will go to (animals must be suited to the area they're going to). A donation as small as $20 will go a long way. $20 will provide a family with a flock of chicks. Eggs from those chicks will nourish the family and extra eggs can be sold for money to buy other things.

Everyone needs to make hard choices about where to spend and/or donate money. Maybe you're not in a position to make a donation or maybe this doesn't happen to be a cause you choose to support. Of course we can't give to every charity, no matter how good the work they're doing.

Regardless of a donation, reading Beatrice's Goat with your children will open their eyes to the broader world and hopefully give them a sense that they can make a difference in it. One person can buy one goat that changes an entire family's lives for the better. By knowing this possibility exists, they will be able to imagine other ways they can make the world a better place.

Related Posts:
Raising Global Citizens: One Hen
Raising Global Citizens
The Holiday Season- Offers ways to help children develop skill with saving, spending, and donating money in addition to providing suggestions for holiday gift giving.