A Christmas message from Bóthar CEO Dave Moloney
Helping to spread Christmas cheer to all those who are far and near...
I can’t believe Christmas is here again. 2019 was a good year for Bóthar and the families we are assisting in the developing world.
As I type this we are getting ready to send another airlift to Rwanda, where families have been preparing to receive their animals for months. If you get a chance, I’d ask you to look at the videos of Doireann and Eu- gene Garrihy and their recent trip to Rwamagana to highlight the work we are doing there. It’s heartwarming and it shows that what we are doing is working.
It’s evident in the videos that when the Rwandan people go to the past, their faces fill with sadness and when they speak of their gift of an Irish dairy cow and how it has changed their lives, their faces fill with light and happiness. One woman we met, Dative Murekeyisoni, said the killers that murdered her family walk amongst her every day, but she looks at what she has now, and how she has overcome the worst life could throw at her, and she is the winner in all this and that brings her comfort.
The gift of an Irish dairy cow is truly amazing. A family can go from having nothing to having an income in quite a short pe- riod of time, as the cows are sent in-calf. Once the milk comes in, they will have an in- come. Families who progress and end up with more than one cow, buy land, successfully grow crops, purchase additional animals, construct biogas units and are able to educate their children.
These farmers are also adding sophistication to the rearing of their animals by feeding them hydroponic grass and increas- ing milk yields.
A gift of an Irish dairy cow will continue to grow within a com- munity as the recipient farmer must pass-on the first female calf to another family in their community that is also on the Bóthar programme. The original family can keep subsequent calves for themselves but pass- ing-on the first female is a con- tractual obligation. This means the original gift will help more than one family.
Every Christmas we get asked why we send Irish dairy cows rather than use local African cows and the reasons are thus:
- an Irish dairy cow is 4-5 times more productive than a local African cow, yielding between 18-20 litres of milk per day.
- Irish dairy cows enjoy a long life span, as they are treated so well by their family.
- Bóthar maintain the purity of the Friesian breed by insemi- nating future female calves with AI (Artificial Insemination) straws sent from Dovea Ge- netics in Thurles. The local gene pool is also improved as AI straws are also used to in- seminate local cows.
- The training received prior to receiving an animal and the veterinary support and back up supplied free of charge for 3 years after, helps to keep animals healthy and produc- tive and farmers have the knowledge to carve a suc- cessful path for themselves.
- Receiving an Irish dairy cow is like winning the lotto or being handed the keys to a successful business.
I hope you can see that your donations are working and on behalf of all the staff and all the families you are helping, thank you and happy Christmas.
Dave Moloney CEO