AAA featured charity: Bóthar

Last week, we visited Gaelscoil Mainistir na Corann to introduce All About Africa to fifth and sixth classes. We were impressed at the high degree of knowledge among the pupils of Africa’s geography and cultures. They have had several previous speakers from Africa or African projects. Of all the charities working with primary schools, Bóthar seem to have best caught the imagination of the children. This week Bóthar is our featured charity.

Bóthar establishes families in micro-farming units by giving them the living gift of a farm animal. This step can be enough to break a cycle of poverty and put a family on the road to prosperity. Bóthar gives a variety of donations including goats, fish, bees and, most of all, dairy cows.

Children in western society often take milk for granted, but in poorer countries many children are prone to illness due to an insufficient supply of this protein-rich food, so necessary for their development. Bóthar has been working to change this.

Bóthar has been transporting in-calf Irish dairy heifers to developing countries since 1991.Our purebred Holstein Freisian are now present in Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, Lebanon, Malawi, Albania and Kosovo. Did you know that a good quality Irish dairy cow is, on average, 20 times more productive than a local cow in our African project countries? That’s 20 times more milk than a native animal produces every day.

Money earned from the sale of surplus milk allows parents to feed, clothe and, most importantly, to educate their children. In addition, each family that receives an animal must pass on a gift of its first-born female calf to another needy family, who will do likewise in their turn, and so the gift grows. The difference that one Irish cow can make in the life of a struggling family is truly amazing.

Most of the heifers that Bóthar sends out to our project countries are given as gifts by farming families. Bóthar have received heifers from farming families in every county in Ireland. A small but growing number of heifers are donated by the non farming community. This is done simply by an individual, family or group deciding to fund the acquisition of a heifer, her transport and placement with its new family.

– Written by Malachy Harty and published in The Imokilly People

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