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Heifer International most "permie" charity?  RSS feed

 
Cris Bessette
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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I've been thinking about charities and reading up on them.

Heifer International seems to have a sustainable model:

Donate livestock, plants, animal husbandry skills. But also, they teach those that receive help to pass on their skills, calves,etc.
to others in their community. They teach farming skills such as improving soil with manure,etc.

Does anyone have direct experience with Heifer International here? From what I've read, they seem to have a sustainable and logical system
to give a hand up instead of a hand out. Charity watch organizations give them high marks.



About Heifer International
 
Dayna Williams
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Location: Zone 8, Western Oregon
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I stumbled upon your post as I was thinking about this same topic. I have donated to Heifer International in the past, because I thought their programs seemed more sustainable than others that seem to depend on passing out beans, rice, and peanut powder (though I am all for emergency short-term aid, obviously, as long as it's not mistaken for a long-term economic solution). I do wonder if livestock pressure from animals that aren't carefully managed (because I wonder if you're worried about where tomorrow's breakfast is going to come from, are you going to have time to be like, "Oh, I need to think about sustainable livestock management") could be detrimental in the long term, but I hope many communities have the wisdom to avoid those kinds of problems.

So, what's your take on this: recently, some ladies in my social circles have been really into purchasing jewelry, clothing, and little household items from small charities set up for women who are especially vulnerable (many who have come out of sex trafficking and similar industries) and don't have any family support. I really like the idea of supporting a good cause, but I don't know how I feel about buying a beaded necklace I don't need instead of just donating money. I am very much in support of direct micro-loans to entrepreneurs worldwide, but I'm wondering if this type of Fair Trade knick knack selling is sustainable? Or is it worth it for the individuals whose lives are turned around, no matter what the long-term effects are? That sounds very callous, I just don't want to give only with my heart, and not with my head as well.

So, just wondering, Cris, if you've thought any more about this, or if you've discovered any other sustainable charities with long-term solutions?
 
Cris Bessette
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" I do wonder if livestock pressure from animals that aren't carefully managed (because I wonder if you're worried about where tomorrow's breakfast is going to come from, are you going to have time to be like, "Oh, I need to think about sustainable livestock management") could be detrimental in the long term, but I hope many communities have the wisdom to avoid those kinds of problems. "

From what I remember reading about them last December was that they don't just drop off animals, they teach the local people how to manage them in a farming system. For instance, get a cow. Use the milk, use the manure from the cow to fertilize garden plots. The cow has a calf, raise the calf,etc.

I've seen a few negative reviews regarding Heifer where money donated is not used specifically as requested (you donate for a calf, they sometimes use money for goats,etc)

In any case this is the only charity I know of that seems to follow a similar track to the philosophy of permaculture where people in need can use a starting "seed" of donation and education that sustainably keeps them out of poverty through their own efforts and capabilities (IE teach a man to fish..) . I'm not sure how selling trinkets and and such would fit that philosophy unless possibly they were making the jewlery and clothing themselves from locally sourced materials,etc.

 
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