Kind-hearted children from an Inishowen school have set themselves the ambitious task of raising almost 2,000 euro to send a cow from Ireland to a family in Africa.
Aided by teaching staff and parents, the children from Cloontagh National School in the Clonmany area have now swung into action to try and raise the money needed for the project.
The innovative project was sparked after Cloontagh NS Principal Eibhlin McCracken received notification in the post of a project being run by Limerick-based charity Bóthar.
Bóthar has projects to help impoverished communities in 20 countries across the world.
One of its projects involves transporting dairy cows located in Ireland to impoverished countries in Africa to give families there a chance at a better future.
The families are given assistance before and after the animal arrives, and they must agree to pass on the first female calf born of their cow to another selected family.
Cloontagh teacher Marie Doherty said the children had been looking for a Lenten project to get involved with and this one seemed the perfect fit.
“Being from Cloontagh it is a fairly rural area and a lot of the children would come from farming background. They would have an understanding of how valuable farm animals can be.
“Two people came up from Limerick to explain the work they do and that just seemed to get the children fired up.
“Initially we intended to send a goat, which costs 300 euro, but the children really wanted to send a cow, which costs 1,800 euro.
“The cows would go from Ireland because Irish cows will give a lot more milk.
“It is a lot of money to raise and it is ambitious, but even if we don’t make the target we will send whatever contribution we have.
“Giving a cow to a family makes a world of difference and the families are trained in how to keep the animal and the cows they send are all in calf.”
The 26 pupils from 5th and 6th Year are spearheading the fundraising effort with a little help from their 98 fellow pupils.
All this week the children are running competitions and they are also having a bring and buy sale at the school on Thursday.
They are also selling their own charity paper, featuring local information and stories at the school and the local Post Office, with all proceeds going towards the charity drive.
Mrs Doherty said that the project was helping the children develop their empathy and in other ways too.
“It really gives them an idea of people that have nothing and planning around organising competitions, and some are making wee bracelets out of wool and selling them. They are so enthusiastic.”