USA (MNN) — Father’s Day spending in the U.S. is expected to reach a record $16 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Just over 75 percent of people plan to celebrate the occasion, NRF’s survey indicates, and 45 percent want to buy something “unique” for dad.
How about a goat? Melissa Kruse, India Partners’ communications coordinator, suggested this to ministry staff several months ago. “She came up with this wonderful idea of how we could honor fathers for Father’s Day — giving a goat to a G.O.A.T.,” explains India Partners’ Donna Glass.
Why does a G.O.A.T. need a goat?
Gifting a goat for Father’s Day seems quite odd until you know the details behind this idea.
First, G.O.A.T. stands for Greatest Of All Time. It’s meant to be a title of honor as well as a play on meaning. Second, there is a literal goat involved – but don’t start purchasing material and building a pen just yet.
The goat – or, goats – will not be showing up on your dad’s front porch. They’re on their way to a needy family in India. “Goats play an important role in the food and nutritional security of the rural poor,” researchers describe in this 2010 article.
“Usually what our partners do is they will give a pair of goats, maybe two or three goats to a family,” explains Glass. “As they breed the goats, then they (family members) start getting milk from the females. This actually helps to increase their nutrition.
“Any extra milk can be sold in the market. Extra goats can be sold, or they can build up a small herd of goats.”
Goats bring help and hope
Goats seem unlikely carriers of help and hope, but they serve precisely this purpose in rural India. Glass points to Suresh as an example.
Suresh and his wife eke out an existence and struggle to provide for their young daughter. “They’re struggling because they are internally-displaced people from another state,” Glass explains. “It’s harder to get work [in their present location] because they don’t have the papers [they need].”
When Suresh’s wife recently became ill, he sold all of his cows and goats – the family’s only source of income – to purchase the medical care she needed. Thankfully, Suresh’s wife recovered from her illness, but the couple didn’t have any money to replace their livestock.
Suresh became desperate, but then one of India Partners’ in-country cohorts gave him a pair of goats sponsored by gracious givers in the West. It will take a bit of time, but “he knows now that… they’ll multiply and… [provide] a living that can help to lift them out of this severe poverty.”
India Partners works alongside a broad group of indigenous grassroots agencies focused on alleviating poverty and injustice. Their vision is an India rich in hope, justice, and compassion. Take a closer look at their work here.
Header image depicts Suresh, his wife, and their daughter with the pair of goats given to them by India Partners’ in-country cohorts. Photo courtesy of India Partners.