Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yak Sustainability Program Update

The Yak Program is a self-sustaining project that provides yaks to rural boarding schools for orphaned and destitute children in some of the most remote locations in western China. These schools are very poor boarding schools with few resources and large numbers of children. Located at high altitudes, these schools and the children who attend them must live and learn in harsh conditions.

Whereas few animals are able to survive in the extreme conditions of such high elevation, yaks are uniquely able to live comfortably outside in these harsh conditions where vegetation is virtually nonexistent. Yaks are able to live by eating the little grass that grows at such high altitudes. Additionally, they are uniquely able to live outside without shelter during the harsh winters. Yaks also produce enough milk for the schools to make butter, cheese, and yogurt, and still allow the children milk to drink.

We rounded out the last quarter of 2011 with the final purchases of yaks from funding received from Alternative Gift International. We were very fortunate to have such generous donations making this program a huge success. Due to the remote location of the majority of these schools purchasing yaks and gathering reports has taken longer than planned, although I’m happy to announce that this program was able to provide over 100 yaks in the past 3 years! These yaks have dramatically affected the lives of over 10,000 orphans between 14 different schools. Schools are reporting that they able to provide milk anywhere from 3-7 times per week and 40-80 kg (roughly 88-176 pounds) of butter and cheese annually. Equally good news is the report of decrease in common disease. With food in their bellies, these children are facing their day and education with one less thing to worry about and the nutrition needed to help power their bodies and mind. Click here to browse through our photo albums of relevant photos or here to help expand this project to the 14 identified schools in need.

Misty Gillham- Nutrition Director

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