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How donating a goat can help a village in Zambia

Life in rural Zambia is harsh.

In the communities where ChildFund works, many families battle in sweltering heat, with meagre subsistence farming as their only hope of making ends meet.

But, several years ago, a Gifts for Good donor chose to give the gift of a goat to a child in Zambia.

Twelve year old Justina and her family were some of the first to receive goats in the area, and today they’re still reaping the benefits of a gift given years ago.

How Donating a Goat Can Help Children

As orphaned children cared for by their elderly grandparents, Justina and her siblings might have been some of the most vulnerable members of their community in Zambia.  Instead, they are now some of the most prosperous.

“I’ve been surprised,” Justina’s grandmother Margaret told us. “I didn’t expect the situation to change the way it has so dramatically.

“Before I received the goats I felt so bad because I could not provide for my grandchildren.  I had no food to give them.  Life was not good.”

How Gifting a Goat Benefits a Family

Margaret and her granddaughter Justina have benefited from the gift of a goat.

Justina and her grandmother use goat manure as a natural and effective fertiliser in their garden, allowing them to grow vitamin-rich vegetables in abundance.

The meat and milk from the goats also provides the family with a regular source of protein.

Before they received the goat, the family lived in a one-room house made from mud. Now, Justina and her brothers and sisters sleep under a sturdy roof at night.

“It wasn’t an easy thing,” Margaret said. “We used to have a very small house.  Me and my husband, together with all the children used to sleep in a one-room hut together.

“One day we sat down together and said ‘this house is too small’, so we decided to sell 10 goats so that we could build a new house.”

Goats are adaptable to Zambia’s hot and dusty environment.  They also reproduce quickly, so a family can begin earning income almost immediately.

The ability to breed goats has in the past proved a lifesaver for Justina and her family.

“Last year Justina fell sick with Malaria,” Margaret said.

“We had no money to take her to the hospital or for treatment.  My husband and I decided to sell a goat in order to pay for the treatment.  She stayed in the hospital for one week and was discharged.

“I felt so thankful.  Had it not been for the goats I’d have had no money to take Justina to the hospital.  She might have even died.”

How a Goat Benefits an Entire Village

In 2012, Perina lived in a house made from mud (left). Now she sleeps under a sturdy roof (right).

The blessings from this gift did not just stop with Justina’s family.

As part of ChildFund’s program, children that receive animals must also pass on some of the offspring to another neighbour in need, like Perina and her grandmother, Alidessa.

Because of the passed-on gift they received, Perina’s family has a steady and stable income for the first time in their lives.  As a result, the family now owns seventeen goats and counting.

“At first life was very difficult because we couldn’t buy things,” Alideesa told us.

“We had to buy on credit and sometimes people refused us.  Now if we have needs, we just sell a goat.  I’m able to walk around now as a proud mother and help my family.”

Before the family received their goats, Perina and her brothers and sisters would go to school without breakfast.

Income from the goats has allowed her grandmother to afford books and uniforms.  Now Perina is able to concentrate on school, not on her stomach.

When one goat is given freely to a child, the life of a whole family improves.  And as families begin to thrive, entire communities are transformed – all because an individual from far away chose to share generously of what they had.

Be Generous and Buy a Goat This Christmas

When you buy and donate a goat as your charity gift this Christmas, a child like Justina is given a second chance.

To help a child in need, browse our Gifts for Good catalogue, and learn more about how your charity gift can be a lifesaver.


The photo on the left shows Perina in 2012. The photo on the right was taken in 2016. Her family still benefits from the passed-on gift of a goat.

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