Lili Lari and her family of six are members of the Yi ethnic group. They live in a small village in China’s Sichuan Province. In 2009, they joined a Heifer project. Soon after, their living conditions improved significantly. Through gifts of animals, crops and training, they were able to boost their income. With less financial stress, Lili was finally able to prepare nutritious meals for her family every day, and she no longer struggled to send her children to school.
In February 2014, Lili’s good fortune was challenged when a fire destroyed her family’s home. It was a freezing cold winter and they lost everything. With no food or shelter, mere survival was uncertain.
The day after the fire, however, members of the community gathered to discuss how they could help Lili’s family. They decided to rebuild the activity room in their community center, transforming it into a temporary home for the family. Many villagers donated money, food, household goods and other relief supplies. By the end of the day, a total of 19,450 RMB, or $3,161, was collected in cash gifts alone.
Lili wrote down symbols and notes in a borrowed notebook, recounting her neighbors’ loving actions. She expressed her deep appreciation for their help. And she cried, not because of the disaster, but because she felt so loved.
When spring returned, the villagers gathered again. This time they met to talk about building a new house for Lili’s family. After making a plan, the women began sowing and cooking while the men found building materials and carried bricks. In just 20 days, Lili and her family moved into their new home.
It can be said that Sharing and Caring, one of Heifer’s Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, is well-carved in the heart of the villagers. Through Sharing and Caring, Lili not only built a new house, but also a new hope for a better future. After Lili’s life improved, she insisted on Passing on the Gift® to help other villages in need and to show her own Sharing and Caring. No matter what the disaster may be, with this sense of community and a desire to help each other, people can rebuild with confidence.