Thursday, October 31, 2013


It is about that time of year when we start thinking of the holidays, and that brings with it the desire to give gifts to those less fortunate.  I wanted to do something with my students from Sociedad Honorífica Hispánica that would be meaningful, related to Spanish, and that would not cost them too much money since many of them do not have jobs yet.

Inspiration struck as my mother came to me yesterday with a gift catalog from Heifer International, a non-profit organization that works in underdeveloped parts of the world by giving livestock to families and training in how to properly care for the animals.  For some families, the milk from a cow or a goat can be the difference between eating and going hungry.  The wool from a sheep can be woven into a warm blanket or sold at market for money for food.

Picture from Untamed Wildlife Photography
The idea is similar to the old adage, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime."  A family with livestock can live - not just today, but into the future.  Not only that, the recipients of the animals agree to pass on the first offspring to other needy families in their communities, so the gift keeps giving.  Alton Brown, a supporter and contributor,  explains it in a promotional video he did for Heifer International.

 One of the gifts that you can choose in the catalog is a llama.  These llamas go to impoverished families in Peru, so it's a perfect project for my students from Sociedad Honorífica Hispánica since it ties in with the Spanish-speaking world so well.  (Maybe Quechua-speaking, but that's okay too.) 

Image from All
There are 29 students in our school's chapter of SHH, 30 of us in total if you include me, so I figure we should each be able to donate about $10 for a total of $300.  That amount is enough for us to donate two llamas.  It makes me feel warm inside knowing that a child somewhere in the Andes mountains will sleep warmly because of the wool provided by the llama that we donate.

I have one stipulation for this project - I insist that the students earn the money themselves.  I don't want them hitting up their parents for $10 because that would not be meaningful and would not demonstrate the generosity that I want them to learn.  Some of them have jobs, most have an allowance, and some may have a little money saved up.  Otherwise, I am encouraging them to offer their parents or grandparents a service in exchange for the money.  If it is earned, then it is a real gift from the heart.

Here is a link to the flyer that I made for my students.  I'm including it here in .docx format so that you can use it and modify it to fit your circumstances, if you decide to take up the same project with your Spanish club or chapter of SHH.  And, if you do, I would love to hear from you.

Hasta la próxima,



Anonymous said...

Wow. That is awesome. Making a difference in the world; great to get your students participating in projects like this!

Anne K said...

Thanks so much for the nice words, Spanishplans. I appreciate the support. I'm imagining a child in Peru who will sleep warmly because of the llama wool and that brings tears to my eyes. I hope others will be inspired to do the same. Together we can make a big difference. --AnneK

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