It's at the top of the list of our most frequently asked questions: When I buy a Useful Gift, such as a toilet or a goat, does that actual item get 'delivered' to the project?
Well, the short answer is no*: every Useful Gift purchased is a contribution to the wider work of TEAR, helping communities around the world fight poverty and marginalisation. But each Useful Gift is also an example of actual project work that helps achieve this mission – as Melanie Williams from our International Program Team got to witness when she visited our partner in Bangladesh!
“Earlier this year I got to see the amazing impact of one of our partners, BASD, in communities in rural Bangladesh. They are working to empower women, provide clean water, and train people with skills for health and livelihoods – it's really fruitful work that's been going on for 28 years!
A really special part of my visit was to witness Beauty Begum, a member of the local Self-Help Group, being presented with a goat. It was a beautiful moment, being able to see the hope and joy on her face, and the way her community celebrated with her.
Beauty would never have been able to purchase a goat on her own, but she’s part of a local Self-Help Group supported by BASD. The wider network of Self-Help Groups communally purchased two goats so that they could lend them to particularly marginalised group members. Beauty was the first group member to receive a goat to rear, and as the goat grows up, it will provide valuable milk to the family for consumption and to sell for income generation. Then, once the goat gives birth (often times to twins), Beauty is able to keep one of the babies and returns the other baby goat and the adult goat to the network to lend it out to another group member. It's just a small part of the wider impact that BASD is having in this community, but so encouraging to see the difference it's making for this woman and her family.”
From Bangladesh to Zambia (check out Shawa’s story, featured on our 2019 Goat Gift), goat rearing provides extra nutrition and income generation for families facing poverty. But the most useful thing about the Gift of a Goat is the bigger story of transformation that it’s a part of.
When you buy a Goat from TEAR’s Useful Gift Catalogue, your purchase makes a contribution to a range of amazing initiatives that help people enjoy better food and livelihoods. This can include the resources and support to raise animals like goats and chickens – but it also ensures the wider needs of the community are cared for. It gives people the skills and tools to transform their lives through better agriculture techniques, understanding of nutrition, and income generation.
For every story featured on our Useful Gifts, there are countless others that make up the bigger story of transformation for a community. You can make an impact that overflows: visit usefulgifts.org to view the entire range of Useful Gifts and see how each one helps people overcome poverty and marginalisation!
*Here's the long answer:
Your purchase of a specific gift is representative of the type of community development work done by our projects. For example, the purchase of a toilet helps to support the work of our Water and Sanitation projects. These project may well install toilets, but they also provide training and education in hygiene, safe water practices, and maintenance of equipment, such as wells and water systems. Likewise, a goat contributes to our Livelihoods and Food Security programs, where communities are provided the skills and tools to transform their lives through better agriculture techniques, training and resources. Some projects will provide goats, and other animals, but they are part of a wider picture of community development.
Check out the answers to other FAQs here.