Every year, a goat is one of the most popular Gifts of Hope given to children and families in need! And it’s no wonder why. Not only are goats cute and fun, but they can change the life of a child and family living in poverty.
Just ask 10-year-old Gloria!
Gloria lives with her mother Gorret, twin sister Angella, and two younger sisters in rural Uganda. And for most of Gloria’s life, they struggled to get by.
After Gloria’s father left their family, they couldn’t pay rent, afford school supplies and even struggled to buy enough food. Her mom, Gorret, didn’t know what to do.
Meeting Gorret now — a woman petite in stature but strong in conviction — it’s hard to believe that she ever felt uncertain about the decisions she makes for herself or her daughters.
“I felt so bad when my husband left,” she shares. “I had so many children and no money to pay rent. I felt very desperate at that time.”
Without her husband’s income, she knew the burden was now on her to support her children. So she decided to move herself and her girls from the capital city of Kampala to her home village. She immediately looked for work, and quickly found a job with another children’s services organization working in her community. But unfortunately, not long after she started, her job was terminated and she once again found herself without any means to support her family.
Gorret prayed for help.
At the time, Holt’s local partner organization in Uganda was looking for families to join a family strengthening program in Gorret’s community. Seeing Gorret and her children as good candidates for the program, they enrolled her two eldest daughters, Gloria and Angella, in Holt sponsorship — matching them with sponsors whose monthly support provides everything from books and supplies for school to the uniforms and fees required for them to attend. They received another mattress and more blankets so that the family of five could sleep more comfortably. They received seeds to plant cassava, beans and maize. And Gorret joined a support group to help build her farming and business skills.
But perhaps the greatest Gift of Hope Gorret and her children received was something unexpected — a gift that would both grow her income and provide food for her family.
As part of Holt’s family strengthening program, Gorret received goats.
The goats came to Gorret and her family the same way any Gift of Hope goes to a family in Holt’s programs. A generous person across the world selects a Gift of Hope to give to a child and their family. Then Holt’s on-the-ground staff and partners pass the gift along to the child and family who need it the most.
In this case, Gorret and her four daughters were the most in need. And the Gift of Hope given by someone across the world was a goat.
Not only do the goats provide milk for their family, but by selling surplus milk and calves, Gorret now has a very stable source of income.
And a goat was just the beginning.
“I started with goats, but I sold some of them to buy a pig,” Gorret proudly shares as she walks around the back of her house to the family’s pigpen, where one mama pig stands nursing her piglets.
In just two years, Gorret has grown her income to 20,000 Ugandan shillings, or 6 U.S. dollars, per month — giving her money to buy important household items such as soap, sugar and batteries. Her piglets will sell for about twice her monthly income, while an adult goat will sell for 80,000 shillings — four times what she earns every month from her other income-generating ventures. Collectively, Gorret’s investments provide enough income to meet the needs of all four of her daughters — including the fees for her youngest to attend school alongside their older sisters.
Today, Gloria and her sisters don’t have to worry about not having a safe place to live. They have enough to eat, and they have all they need to attend school. Gorret is successfully farming and raising animals in their village, and independently and successfully provides for her girls.
A goat truly changed their life.