Bóthar patrons Neven Maguire and Ella McSweeney have urged the Offaly public to think of the world’s poorest this Christmas by giving the greatest present of all – a ‘gift that gives life’.
The duo launched the Irish aid agency’s ‘Give Gifts that Give Live’ Christmas by turning back the clock to hand-milk show-cow ‘Hope’ – the way that recipient families in Bóthar projects across the globe will do it after they receive their life-saving gift from the appeal. The campaign hopes to raise enough funds to purchase livestock that will take over 3,000 families across the developing world out of destitution.
Laois has traditionally been a stronghold in terms of its response to the annual Bóthar Christmas appeal and the aid agency is hoping this festive season will be no different.
Said chef and owner of the acclaimed MacNean House and Restaurant in Co. Cavan McGuire: “I have travelled to a number of Bóthar project locations in Africa and have seen for myself the incredible impact that a donation of an Irish dairy Cow or goat can make to families. One animal can turn their world around.
“As a parent, it’s heart-breaking to think that there are children out there who live in dreadful conditions and go without basic daily needs. But the joy that you see when these people get a gift from Bóthar makes you realise what giving is all about.”
Ear to the Ground presenter and radio broadcaster Ella McSweeney, who recently joined McGuire and others such as rugby international Tommy Bowe and President Michael D Higgins as a patron of Bóthar, said that livestock aid is one of the most practical ways to make a difference to people’s lives in the developing world.
“There is nothing as powerful and important than communities being able to be resilient and feed themselves. The Bothar concept of providing families with a dairy animal gives them a source of nutrition but vitally also, it’s a gift that keeps giving because the first-born female calf is passed on to another family, and so the cycle of giving continues.
“Bothar gifts make so much sense because they ensure that communities are self-sufficient when it comes to food and farming.”
Launching the Bóthar Christmas appeal, Chief Executive David Moloney said: “There can hardly be a better gift than one that allows you to say to a loved one, ‘my gift to you this year is that I am going to send a cow to a poor family in Africa in your name. This is going to change lives for generations to come. That’s the ultimate gift that any of us can give.
“Christmas is peak time of the year for giving and it accounts for almost half of our total donations. We lift approximately 6,000 families annually out of poverty so we are hoping to raise enough funds, have enough animals purchased, from this Christmas appeal to lift approximately 3,000 families from the most wretched poverty imaginable.”
Bóthar’s donation options for their Christmas appeal range from €10 for a share of snail farm to the dream donation of €25,000 for the Bóthar Ark - five cows, ten goats, 15 camels, 20 pigs, 25 flocks of hens and 30 beehives plus initial training and veterinary back up.
The organisation will send Irish livestock, including cows, goat and pigs, to impoverished locations worldwide next year as well as purchase local indigenous animals ranging from water buffalos and camels to chickens and honeybees in these countries.
Bóthar, which has projects in 35 countries, has produced a Christmas Gift Catalogue, which sets out all the options for the public to choose from. The cost of each gift includes the training and preparation for the family, transportation of the animal as well as full veterinary back-up and in-country support for the initial years.
This year’s Christmas Gift Catalogue is available from Bóthar offices throughout Ireland or can be viewed online at www.bothar.org For each animal or share of an animal that you sponsor Bóthar will send you a Christmas gift card and a collectable animal magnet that you can presnt to a friend or family member.
To order, log on to www.bothar.org or call Bóthar directly on 1 850 829 999.