Send a Cow: the Christmas gifts that keep on giving
When we hear ‘Little Donkey’, most of us probably think of the popular Christmas carol we used to sing during the school Nativity play – but through Send a Cow, training to look after a real Little Donkey happens to be just one of the incredible gifts that you can donate to a family in rural Africa, helping to transform their livelihoods for years to come.
From chickens and cockerels to baby goats – and of course, cows – these animals not only offer holistic and long-term benefits to a family, as a source of nourishment and produce to sell in their local community, but they also give back to the planet, providing manure which nourishes the soil.
And these animals make up only a small fraction of the gifts that Send a Cow supply, as they also offer the opportunity to give the Wonderful Water, Marvellous Mud and Super-Strong Seeds needed for families to plant climate-resilient trees and crops, as well as the Clean Latrines and Super Stoves needed to improve sanitation and safety, and protect the environment, as communities go about their daily lives.
Send a Cow recognises the value of empowering families to design their own solutions, by educating children to grow their own fruit and vegetables, helping women to understand their rights, and supporting families to become successful entrepreneurs through building their own start-ups.
Each member of the Greenhouse team was invited to give back through Send a Cow this year, and here we share what we chose and why:
Educating a Child
"Training programmes like this are key to empowering the next generation, giving them the immediate opportunity to eat better - allowing them to concentrate more at school and focus on their wider education - and the long-term opportunity to the gain skills and knowledge that will sustain them and others well into the future."Will Spragg
"We both got into cycling during lockdown. We’ve really enjoyed how freely you can roam around and it’s a way to get around that doesn’t rely on fuel."Kat Gillbe & Smilla Balletto
Top Notch Trees
"Giving food and shelter, providing a range of services from regulating temperature to preserving healthy soils, and absorbing carbon, trees really are the perfect gift for local communities and the wider world."David Mason
"I have always liked the idea of allotments and my family has had a patch at our local allotment since I can remember. They are a great way of helping people and communities become more self-sufficient with food supply!"Toby Dye
"I’ve seen (and experienced to a small degree!) how much effort goes into looking after an allotment, but I also know how much joy it brings, and will always appreciate how it taught me the values of patience, hard graft, and respecting nature. I’d love for families all over the world to experience that joy and learn those values."Will Vowell
"I have an allotment myself, so I know the amazing power they offer to both provide food but also allow people to spend time growing, learning about food systems and creating communities. I love the idea that families and individuals will benefit from these things thanks to Send a Cow!"Flora Hancox
"We wanted to gift a cow because of its impact on a family: milk to drink and nourish the family, an additional source of income by selling the milk and can also be good to fertilise the land. Overall, a cow was the perfect gift with a high impact and offering a lot of opportunities!"Maria Dolben & Sindhu Ram
Supporting a Start-Up
"I think it's a brilliant mix of empowering people, and also being a little different and special to someone."Joe Dillon
Hope for Refugees
"It's all too easy to turn a blind eye to the refugee crisis in South Sudan; it feels a million miles away from our daily reality and ranks well below the coronavirus pandemic on the news agenda. However, the impacts of climate change (namely drought, deforestation and desertification) coupled with prolonged conflicts and civil war, have displaced well over 4m people, half of which are children.
Thanks to the efforts of Send a Cow, families forced to flee their homes are welcomed into the Palabek Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda, where South Sudanese refugees live side by side with the local Ugandan community. Here they are equipped with the training and tools required to grow food for their families. Eventually they will have a surplus of vegetables and a means to generate an income."Helen Bell
Top-Notch Trees, Super Seeds and Marvellous Mud
"You can become a climate champion by gifting soil, trees and seeds. I love to think of these gifts transforming the soil and the potential for everyone and helping to address climate change.
These gifts quite literally change people’s lives and extend right into families and communities in some of the toughest areas impacted by climate change."Anna Guyer
If you would like to donate to Send a Cow, check out their virtual catalogue here.