Milk for Health in Tanzania ~ #GiveHeifer

This is my 5 year old daughter Madison, who has never known what it’s like to be without food or drink. She especially doesn’t know what it’s like to be without milk, a good source of calcium and vitamin D. Together with Heifer International, we want to share with you how you can help others less fortunate than you are.

Did you know that September 27th is School Milk Day? My kids have been in school since the middle of August,  and I pay a monthly fee for them to enjoy a school lunch which includes a meal and of course school milk. My kids just love milk and if there’s no milk in our refrigerator I’d hear about it. They have to have milk for their cereal, milk for snack and what goes well with cookies, milk of course. I have to admit that like many of you who may be reading this post, this is the first I had heard of Heifer’s School Milk Feeding Program, and I wanted to learn more. I went through the photos with Madison sitting next to me and when I arrived at this photo, she started asking questions.

Credit: Heifer International

Madison: Why are they eating paper?

Me: It’s not paper, it’s milk.

Madison: Why does it look like paper?

Me: Because it’s in a bag.

Madison: Why is it in a bag?

Me: Because that’s the way they get their milk. They live in Tanzania and are not like you and me, so they don’t get their milk in big cartons like we do.

Madison: So are they hungry?

Me: Yes, sometimes they do go hungry, so we need to help them.

Madison: I want to help them. 

Her words, shocked, but did not really surprise me. Madison has always been an empathetic child. My mother used to call her an “old soul”. And I began thinking. If a 5 year old would want to help children who are hungry and without the means to help themselves, why can’t we adults do the same thing? Personally, I hate knowing that anyone is going hungry, but when that someone is a child it hurts even more. There’s a reason that we give our children lunches and snacks, because we know that being hungry does not make for enhanced learning. You cannot concentrate on what you’re doing when you’re hungry.

Credit: Heifer International

The Heifer School Milk Feeding Program was introduced in July 2017 and their goal is to provide 9,000 students (ages 9 and under) in the Njombe, Iringa, Mbeya, and Songwe regions with a packet of free fresh milk every day Monday – Friday during the school year. They know, just like we do, that proper nutrition is essential to learning and students should be focused on learning instead of their hunger. Just one packet of milk contains at least a quarter of the daily calcium requirement needed for a child, and since the program was introduced, 1,742 students in the Njombe region have received 200ml packets of pasteurized milk and will continue to receive a FREE, daily packet of fresh milk every day Monday – Friday during the school year.

I also love their “cow to classroom” initiative which this video fully describes.

I believe in sustainable farming. Growing up in the Caribbean, my family owned their own chickens so we got eggs daily. We also had sheep and goat and would get milk from our goats. With the Cows to Classroom program, it helps farmers increase their income, reduce poverty and in turn help gets the milk to classrooms. I call that a win-win situation.

Credit: Heifer International

So How Can You Help? 

We spend hundreds of dollars on designer coffee yearly, but did you know that just $75 can provide one student with fresh milk for an entire school year? That’s just 40 cents a day! However, you can make a donation of any size. It doesn’t matter how big or small, every donation counts.

And as an added bonus:

For every share of this post via social media (Facebook or Twitter), Women Online will donate $1 for each of those shares up to $2,000, to Heifer School’s Milk Feeding Program. Just be sure to add #GiveHeifer to your shares.

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