A Cow Named Cristina

cow in bolivia

Juanita (left) presents a cow to Diana.

By Nicole Duciaume, Americas Region Sponsorship Manager

In Bolivia, Juanita’s two-room house is full. Six family members share three beds, and Juanita cooks in a small kitchen with poor ventilation while her husband works as a day laborer.

But this family is fortunate in other ways. Juanita’s 10-year-old son is sponsored through ChildFund, and his sponsor has written letters and sent small gifts over the years. Two years ago, the family received a cow purchased through ChildFund’s Real Gifts Catalog. The cow has changed Juanita’s life, providing milk and more cattle. Today, the family has two cows and three calves, and Juanita received training on how to care for the cow, breed it and milk it.

Before the cow arrived, Juanita used to bake bread to sell, but she inhaled a lot of smoke and suffered heat exhaustion and back pain. Today, she instead sells surplus milk that her family doesn’t consume or share with other families.

“My life is complete,” she says. “I am a better mother because of these cows. And I am a leader in the community, too. I never could have imagined my life would improve so much with one cow.”

Juanita recently donated a cow to her neighbor Diana, a mother of three young boys. In this way, Juanita is helping transform a community, one cow at a time.

With support from ChildFund’s local partner organization, Juanita chose Diana based on  her family’s need, their participation in community programs and the fact that they have enough land for a cow. Now Juanita will train Diana to care for the cow, whose name is Cristina.

“I will treat Cristina as my only daughter,” Diana said during the brief cow-transfer ceremony. “I will take care of her just as Juanita did. I hope she will grow strong and reproduce, so I can give a calf to someone else in the community very soon. My heart is so full and so thankful.”

With the gift of a cow, the lives of two women and their families are now changed. Transformation is possible, and sometimes it can come in the form of a cow named Cristina.

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