I know from experience that the more you learn about malnutrition, the more you want to do something about it. As I mentioned, too often I’ve met African children who I figured were 7 or 8 years old, based on how tall they were—only to find out they were actually 12 or 13. They were so malnourished that they were years behind, and it was hard to imagine how they would ever catch up. Once Melinda and I saw the terrible impact of malnutrition, we realized it needed to be a bigger priority in our foundation’s work.
If you’re feeling a similar urge to help, I’d encourage you to support Heifer International. Heifer is actually one of the groups that our kids donate to when they have a little extra money saved up. Through Heifer, you can donate an animal to a community in need. For example, for $20 you can provide a flock of geese, ducks, or chickens. (Other organizations that do great work include Helen Keller International and 1,000 Days.)
When people in extreme poverty get an animal, extraordinary things start to happen. They get more protein and other nutrients from milk and eggs, which helps keep them healthy and able to go to school or work. They also make more money, because they can sell whatever milk or eggs that they don’t eat. It’s pretty amazing.
Near the top of this page you can watch a powerful video about how Heifer helped Filister, a mother in Kenya, after her husband and sons all died and she had to take care of all her grandchildren.