When Lee and Bette Fisher learned they could give a gift to their sponsored child in Ethiopia, they knew from their own experience just how helpful a cow could be to a family in need.
Lee Fisher knows a lot about cows. He grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Illinois with 500 head of cattle, and he even worked with cows in his free time, training and showing calves through 4H. He knows just how helpful a cow can be — they provide milk, calves, meat, manure for crop fertilization and heating, and can contribute to the overall wellbeing of a family.
So when Lee and his wife, Bette, received Holt’s Gifts of Hope catalog this year, they naturally thought a cow would be the perfect gift for their sponsored child, Tesfahun.
Tesfahun lives with his family in southern Ethiopia, where he attends the Holt-supported Yesus Mena School for the Deaf. Tesfahun is an exceptional student at Yesus Mena, where he and his family have learned to communicate through sign language. Because of the educational support he receives from his sponsors, Lee and Bette, Tesfahun has everything he needs to succeed — from a uniform, books and supplies to nourishing lunches and specially trained teachers.
And now, with the Fishers’ gift of a cow, Tesfahun’s family has also received the gift of hope and opportunity.
“God has been good to me and my family, so we wanted to share with this little boy and his family,” Lee says. “I was hopeful it would help the family have a better life.”
While Tesfahun’s parents work hard, his father as a guard and his mother as a farmer, they live in a rural community where it is difficult to rise above poverty.
For families in this community, a cow is a truly valuable asset. While they can use the cow’s milk, manure and calves for themselves, any surplus of these products can be sold as part of a small business — providing regular income and empowering them to achieve greater stability.
“I got a kick just seeing them looking at the cow,” Lee says about seeing the photos of Tesfahun and his family with their new cow. Holt staff in Ethiopia also shared with Lee the gratitude Tesfahun’s family expressed upon receiving their gift of hope. “[They were] very happy and blessed to receive the gift and [are thankful for] Mr. Fisher — for his generosity and warm heart,” they write. “They are very hopeful that this cow will have a significant contribution in improving their nutrition and income in the future.”
The act of giving a cow to Tesfahun and his family warmed the Fishers’ hearts as well. “Hopefully,” Lee says, “Tesfahun will know or come to realize there is a family far away that wants to see better things happen in his life.”
Megan Herriott • Staff Writer