Livestock: The Gift of Life for 1,000 FamiliesSustainability does not always come in the form of energy. People need livestock for food products and as a source of income, and, just as renewable energy can be solar or wind-powered, people choose between different types of animals, such as goats, sheep or cows.Having the ability to produce milk, yogurt or cheese provides sustenance as well as products to sell, and, eventually, animals can be used for meat if necessary once they pass their productive age. A livestock animal can be the difference between a family eating, having an income, or sleeping hungry in poverty. Zakat Foundation of America realizes how important it is to have such animals.With your support, Zakat Foundation of America wants to distribute 1,000 livestock animals to 1,000 families this year.Zakat Foundation of America held a distribution in Burkina Faso that provided animals to 110 households split evenly among five villages. Each community received 44 animals. The purpose of the distribution was to procure animals for the beneficiary community; quarantine, house, feed, treat, tag and vaccinate the animals; and to present the animals to selected beneficiaries.Each distribution had technical support from the respective District Assembly’s Veterinary Officer and community members. There was a short ceremony, and attendees included community leaders, women’s groups, and youth groups as Zakat Foundation of America distributed a total of 220 animals.The livestock provide enough money for beneficiaries to build newer, better homes and raise families with previously unavailable opportunities, such as purchasing farmland. Families who once could only work for cheap wages can send their children to school and cover marriage expenses. Not only that, Zakat Foundation of America deliberately purchases quality livestock from the host country to boost the local economy.The effort is just one of many in which Zakat Foundation of America attempts to improve families’ livelihood and income level while providing sustainable economic and social development. In Africa, Zakat Foundation of America has livestock programs in Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Uganda.A beneficiary named Sahra, 56, in Ethiopia has been battling poverty for decades. She has seven orphan children who she used to send out for supplies and sales at the risk of their safety. Thanks to a livestock program on which Zakat Foundation of America partnered with the United Society for Sustainable Development (UNISOD), she felt her living condition was transformed.“With two sheep initially, we were worried of what to do, but after the project gave us side support, including animal husbandry training and income saving skill awareness, we managed our livelihood base,” Sahra said. “Now we [have] six sheep, because the first seed stock bore two twins in the reproduction and now bore the second round, and one was give to us by a cousin of my children. Alhamdullilah life is good now.”Please consider sponsoring the gift of a strong pair of sheep or goats for $220 or a healthy cow for $530. Donations to this program count toward zakat payment, which ensures a rich spiritual reward for the donor as the benefits of the charity multiply over time each person and family it helps.