Thanks to help from Global Impact charity partner, Heifer International, anyone visiting the village of Msonthi, Malawi, today will see ox carts, bicycles and healthy children going to school, but this was not always the case. In years past, many families did not have a stable enough income source to provide for their children. Locals were experiencing chronic malnutrition, malaria and diarrheal disease—three of Africa’s leading childhood killers.
Malawi farmer Daniel and his two young grandsons, Garfield and Mizeki, often struggled to satisfy their basic needs. Before receiving help from Heifer, the family’s health suffered greatly. “It was difficult for us to find food everyday,” recalls Daniel. They ate cornmeal porridge and pumpkin leaves. “We were very weak,” he remembers. As a farmer, Daniel was only able to save the equivalent of about $14 each year. “We were living hand to mouth,” he said.
But in late 2001, when Daniel received a cow from Heifer, this all changed. Since receiving their cow, the family’s health has dramatically improved. Daniel says, “In the past my family was malnourished, but now, with milk to drink, they are not.” He adds, “They were getting ill frequently, but now that has all stopped.” Thanks to his Heifer cow, Daniel is earning more than $100 every month from milk sales. In addition to milk, the cows produce a lot of valuable manure. Before, Daniel could expect to harvest roughly one ox cart of maize per acre. However, because they now have so much manure, Daniel’s farm can produce about two carts per acre—twice as much! In the garden where they grow their potatoes, they used to only be able to harvest one or two bags. Now they can get 10 bags per year out of the same land and are earning an additional $555 annually from potato sales.
For little Garfield and Mizeki, a Heifer cow is giving them an opportunity that no one in their family has ever before had: the chance to grow up free from poverty. It all adds up to one very grateful grandfather, two very healthy little boys and a very happy ending. Daniel’s family was one of 30 in this remote village who signed up for a dairy project.
To look at Daniel’s family before and after they received their cow is like night and day. Before Heifer, they lived in an old, one-room house with a leaky thatched roof and mud walls. After Heifer, Daniel was able to build what he describes as “a good house made of bricks with a tin roof.” It is strong, clean, safe, and as Daniel’s daughter, Rebecca, adds, “It doesn’t leak.”
Daniel also knows that his actions today will be felt for generations to come. He became a donor when he passed on his first calf to another family. Daniel’s cow has since given birth two more times, growing Daniel’s herd, providing more milk to drink or sell, and ensuring very bright and promising futures for Garfield and Mizeki.