How a goat can help empower a girl

In several rural Zambian communities, many families struggled to overcome poverty, facing harsh hurdles like limited resources and agricultural crises. Often the income that many parents could earn went straight to feeding their children, leaving little available for school, medicine and other essentials – and leaving children’s full potential behind.

14-year-old Monica’s story was similar, until the life-changing moment when one generous Canadian chose to Defy Normal holiday conventions and give a goat Gift of Hope.

That one Gift of Hope – combined with empowering sponsorship opportunities – helped unlock a whole world of possibility, where Monica and her family had the chance to create a new, more promising reality:

“We were very happy on the day my mother brought the three goats home,” says Monica. Along with the goats, her family received goat-rearing training to know how best to tend to the animals. Plus, they received supplies for proper pens, feeding and even vaccination services so their goats could grow healthy and avoid diseases that had previously plagued livestock in the community.

Thanks to all of this, 3 goats quickly became a flourishing farm of 26 goats and other animals. Today Monica and her family are nourished by goats’ milk and by their now vibrant vegetable garden fertilized by the herd – even eggs from chickens they were able to purchase with the added income!

Monica stands with her parents in their garden.
A herd of goats on Monica’s family farm.
Monica and her friends happily toss fruit.
Monica holding a baby goat in front of their pen.

Canadians’ Gifts of Hope also included small business support so they can now effectively price and sell their healthy herd to others in the community and build a thriving income.

“My parents are managing well to care for us,” Monica shares. “They sell goats to buy medicine and food.”

With more food and income on hand – plus further supports made possible through local sponsorship projects – her parents could also fully invest in even greater opportunities for Monica.

“Children, especially girls, who were not enrolled are now in school. And parents are able to pay school fees from selling goats.”

Now she’s in grade 9, expanding her horizons and confidence with access to her right to education.

“When I grow up and complete school, I want to be a lawyer so I can help those who have been wrongfully convicted,” she says with determination, the kind a girl can feel when she’s had the invaluable chance to be educated and can harness her full power within.

“I’m very happy to see Monica in school,” adds her father, Humphrey, who’s proud to be able to support his family – even his neighbours – thanks to a single goat Gift of Hope.

A girl stands at the front of her class.
: Monica reading letters from her sponsor.


But the change doesn’t stop there.

Families like Monica’s across Zambia received 13,000 goats from generous Canadians who gave Gifts of Hope. Those families went on to pass the goat offspring to 2,000 additional families – creating a chain of change for all to unleash their potential!

“I came to pass on a goat to my friends so they too can benefit the way I have,” says one delighted woman who shared a goat at a community goat pass-on celebration. “A goat can change someone’s life. To donors in Canada, thank you for the goat project as it has bettered our families!”

“The challenges in the community are better now,” says Humphrey, grateful for all that is now possible for so many, as well as the chance to play a key part in it. “I feel good!”

Women passing on a goat in front of a crowd at a goat pass-on celebration.

Christopher Lungu, Programs Area Manager with Plan International Zambia also shares his sincere gratitude for all that has been made possible: “The communities wanted benefits they could touch and see. When the Gifts of Hope came it was a dream come true.”

And thanks to Canadian supporters, Monica (and all children benefiting from your gifts) is harnessing her power to make her dreams a reality.

“To our donors in Canada who helped us through this Gift of Hope, I would like to say: thank you very much and may life kindly favour you always.”

Monica and friends smiling, holding sign that reads ‘Thank you for Defying Normal with Gifts of Hope’.

Help a child, their family and whole community unlock their power to thrive by Defying Normal holiday giving today.

Give a goat