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Rent-a-goat' scheme helps needy

[ 2011-07-26 11:46]     字号 [] [] []  
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A Wild West theme park in the Czech Republic has teamed up with a local humanitarian organization to buy goats for rural African families through its novel "rent-a-goat" attraction.

Vacationers visiting the park in Boskovice, southeast of the capital Prague, can have fun and do their bit to help others by renting goats to feed or play with for 10 Czech koruna (60 US cents) as part of a project called "Goats for Africa".

"Last year we sent 214,000 koruna to buy 214 goats - that's a decent number," said Lubos Prochazka, the "sheriff" and founder of the popular theme park that draws 60,000 to 100,000 visitors a year.

Local aid group People in Need uses the funds to buy goats - hardy creatures that produce highly nutritious milk - mainly for rural families in Africa.

The group, active in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Namibia, as well as in several Asian countries, also teaches families how to care for their new livestock so herds will multiply quickly.

"Our goal is to give the goats to people who have been taught so that the animals survive, reproduce and bring more benefit," said Tomas Vyhnalek, chief fundraiser at People in Need.

"In Sri Lanka, where people lost their herds in a war, nobody needed training because they are farmers who used to breed goats, so we simply gave them vaccinated animals," said Vyhnalek.

But in Angola, which is still recovering from a 27-year-long civil war that ended in 2002, "the herds were killed off and the farmers lost their know-how over the decades," he added.

People in Need now runs a training center and model farms in the oil-rich country, whose capital Luanda emerged as the world's most expensive city for expatriates in a recently published Mercer group study.

But the general poverty ratio in the country reached 37 percent in 2010, and 58 percent among rural residents, according to United Nations data.

People in Need implemented projects worth almost 59 million koruna in Angola in 2009, the last year for which data was available.

"The farmers know that when they get a certificate at the end of the training course lasting several months, they will also get a bonus - either chickens or goats," Vyhnalek said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Rent-a-goat' scheme helps needy

Rent-a-goat' scheme helps needy

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.