The cost of a high yielding cow in India where we work has gone to Rs 31,000. It’s a lot of money – but it also means a lot of milk.
Building up our cow herd is a major and important self sustainability project for New Hope. It has many aspects. The prime is milk for children. The ‘cow dung’ as it’s still called in Indian English goes to the Biogas Plant *– another Indian expression that we know as a digester. Into this goes every scrap, not always directly. Vegetable waste peelings go to the hens and the hen houses floor sweepings all go to the plant.
Buying a cow in FOUR PARTS (or 1/8th or 1/16th) A $ 150 for a Quarter
A COW IN FOUR PARTS ?
All the children in New Hope Community Centre know just how expensive a cow is. They know that it means a teachers salary for 6 months. It cost more than a computer. The children have 3 learning computers – it has greatly improved their writing skills and expanded their knowledge and interest in maths and geography. For the disabled the ‘drawing’ tool has made them feel confident that they are able to ‘do computer’.
In a senior class open discussion the students were asked their preferences – “A cow or a Computer’ – Out of 18 votes 16 opted for the cow. The other two said that ‘cows are so big and make such a big noise that they frighten them’ – not too hard to understand when you have grown up in a city slum as a street child.
WE NEED MORE COWs – if 4 or 8 or 16 people could give over the next 4 months – we could meet the target.
* Anaerobic digestion is widely used as a source of renewable energy. The process produces a biogas, consisting of methane, carbon dioxide and traces of other ‘contaminant’ gases. This biogas can be used directly as cooking fuel, in combined heat and power gas engines or upgraded to natural gas-quality biomethane. The use of biogas as a fuel helps to replace fossil fuels. The nutrient-rich digestate also produced can be used as fertilizer.