Send a Cow
For many families, the gift of a cow can change their lives
by Send a Cow international development charity
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the work of the Send a Cow international development charity, which is based in Bath.
Preparation and materials
You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Send a Cow) and the means to display them.
- Optional: you may wish to show the YouTube video ‘Enterprising Africa’, in which case you will also need the means to display it. It is 4.07 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peM8A6FPYAg
More information about the Send a Cow organization, and ways in which you can get involved, is available at: https://www.sendacow.org/
- Have Slide 1 displayed as the children enter.
Ask a child to read the words written on the slide and ask for suggestions as to what the words ‘Send a cow – change a family’s future’ could mean.
Listen to a range of responses.
Show Slide 2.
Explain to the children that the Send a Cow organization is an international charity based in the UK. Explain that, more than 25 years ago, there was a milk crisis in the UK, which meant that farmers were receiving very little money for their milk. The farmers couldn’t afford to keep feeding their cows because the milk that they produced could not be sold, so the farmers were having to kill perfectly healthy cows.
At the same time as this was happening in the UK, a country in Africa called Uganda was having a different problem. Uganda was just recovering from a war and there was a desperate need for cows to supply milk and food. When some farmers from Devon found out about the situation in Uganda, they had an idea. They decided to send some of their cows on a plane to Uganda!
Today, the Send a Cow charity no longer sends cows on planes, but it does still give cows and other animals to families in need. Send a Cow also works with families, teaching them how to care for their animals, grow their own fruit and vegetables, stay healthy, work well as a community and start their own business as a way out of the poverty that many of them face.
In today’s assembly, we are going to look in more detail at the work of Send a Cow – it might even inspire some of us to get involved!
Show Slide 3.
Send a Cow works in several African countries.
Ask some of the children to read out the names of the countries shown on the slide and point out which country is Uganda.
Show Slide 4.
Point to the boy wearing the blue rugby shirt.
This is Matia. When Matia was just four years old, his parents died from a disease. Since then, Matia’s brothers and sisters helped to bring him up. Often, Matia and his family went without food for two or three days at a time because they had no money to buy it.
In the district of Rakai, where Matia and his brothers and sisters live, there are many households with no parents – families that simply consist of brothers and sisters. Matia’s household had to support each other by cooking, cleaning and caring for each other. This was very hard for the children because they had so little money. They had no beds, shoes or medicine and very little food. The family did very well to survive.
Show Slide 5.
When Send a Cow found out about Matia’s family, the charity was able to give them a cow! It was then that life began to get a bit easier for the family. They named their cow Kirabo. Before the children were given Kirabo, they were given lots of training so that they knew how to look after a cow and make the most of what she could provide for them.
Show Slide 6. (The words will appear on the slide show in this order: milk, manure and urine.)
Show the word ‘Milk’.
Ask the children the following question.
- A healthy dairy cow can produce up to 20 litres of milk a day. Can anyone drink all that milk in one day?
Explain that 20 litres is a lot of milk! It is plenty to feed the children in Matia’s family, leaving lots of milk left over that can be sold at the local market. Matia’s family can then use the money that they get from selling the milk for other food and essentials.
Show the word ‘Manure’.
Ask the children why cow manure could be useful.
Explain that manure can be put on crops to increase the amount and size of fruit and vegetables that are grown. The money gained through selling excess vegetables at local markets is very useful.
Show the word ‘Urine’.
Explain that families who work with Send a Cow are shown how to make something called ‘plant tea’, which is made using cow’s urine! It is a pesticide, which means that it keeps pests away from the crops, making it possible to produce healthy fruit and vegetables.
(You may wish to point out that Send a Cow does not advise families to kill their cows for meat or leather because the animal would then no longer be able to provide milk, manure and urine.)
Show Slide 7. (The pictures and words will appear on the slide show in this order: varied food, shoes, school fees, a new roof, medicine and chickens.)
Explain that the money that families can gain through selling milk (or excess vegetables) at local markets is very useful. It can provide the following items.
- Varied food. With the extra money, families can buy different foods from those that they grow. This gives them a healthier, more balanced diet. They can also buy more seeds so that they can plant a variety of different fruit and vegetables.
- Shoes. Some children have never had a pair of shoes! Just like us, children in Uganda like to have nice clothes and shoes. Extra money enables them to buy new clothes for the whole family when they are needed.
- School fees. It is free to go to school in Uganda, but families still need to buy books, pencils and school uniform. In Uganda, children can go out to work, so some families can’t afford to allow their children to go to school. The children work from a young age and never receive an education. The extra money gained from the Send a Cow projects enables children to go to school and improves their chance of a better future.
- A new roof. The extra money enables families to make repairs and even improvements to their houses.
- Medicine. The extra money means that children can receive medicine to help them get better when they are sick.
- Chickens. Families might choose to buy chickens, goats or other animals. All of these additional animals can provide more money for the family.
Show Slide 8.
The Send a Cow process involves ‘passing on’. This means that the first female calf of every cow that Send a Cow provides is given to another poor family. In turn, when their cow has its first calf, they will do the same. In this way, the gift goes on multiplying and makes this development sustainable.
Show Slide 9.
Wherever Send a Cow is involved, training is passed on to other members of the community, so that they can learn to grow more vegetables, too. Over time, whole communities can be affected through the giving of just one cow, transforming many people’s lives.
The photograph on the slide shows an extended family that has been helped in this way. There are 18 people - grandchildren, cousins, brothers and sisters. It shows how the gift of one cow can make such an extraordinary difference.
Show Slide 10.
Read through the figures on the slide.
In the last ten years, schools have raised an amazing £1 million to support the work of Send a Cow.
This sum represents over 500 dairy cows, 12,000 goats and over 11,000 sheep. This has had a huge impact on families across Africa, helping them to leave poverty behind for good.
Show Slide 11.
Point out that there are several ways to get involved with Send a Cow.
You may wish to involve the school in a Send a Cow project.
- Show Slide 12.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to imagine how it would feel to have no food and no money to buy clothes and medicine. Ask them to imagine that they have to go out to work every day and never have the chance to come to school to learn or play with their friends.
Show Slide 5 again – Matia with Kirabo the calf.
Ask the children to think about the difference that the arrival of Kirabo made to Matia’s life, and to the lives of his brothers and sisters.
Ask the children if they are looking forward to Christmas.
Christmas is a wonderful time when most of us will receive presents and eat a lot of food. Wouldn’t it be special if, this Christmas, we could do something that would help children in a different part of the world?
Maybe, this Christmas, we could consider sending a present to Africa – maybe we could send a cow and help to change someone else’s life.
Thank you for all the food that we enjoy.
Thank you for our homes and our clothes.
Thank you that, when we are sick, we are given medicine.
Thank you for our schools.
Please help us to be generous people.
Please help us to realize that we can make a difference to the lives of others.