Mongolian children with covered sheep pen. Photo by Thor-Arne Prois/ACT.
To counter the loss of these valuable animals that are at the very heart of life in this region, the Amity Foundation, a Global Ministries partner, supported by One Great Hour of Sharing, launched a project to help 41 families who had suffered the greatest losses. Each family received 25 sheep and signed a 3-year contract to return 15% of newborn lambs to help support other families.
"All 1,025 sheep donated survived the cold winters, yielding a total of 22 lambs per family—well above the average," says Thor-Arne Prois, director of ACT International. He adds, however, that beneficiaries are concerned about the poor grazing conditions of the region. A history of excessive cultivation as well as damage from the blizzards has turned much of the once generous grasslands into a vast desert. The government has fenced large portions of the remaining grazing areas, hoping that the grass will recover. Shepherds like Si Qing must move from one piece of land to another, searching always for greener pastures.
Others, like Siqibili and her husband Wuni Batuo, are no longer nomads, thanks to an Amity project known as "Covered Pen," which provided 80 families with land, building materials, water, and electricity. Their animals are housed in small sheds. Siqibili says she feels safe and at home within their small community, where the brick houses shield them from the cold and neighbors are there to support each other.
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