Deze moeder is erg blij met de koe die is geschonken door een weldoener uit Nederland

Give a Cow

& help a family with a disabled child in Kyrgyzstan

The origin of the project

In 2005, Pepijn Trapman, who then worked in the organization “Philadelphia Foundation” in Apeldoorn, a Dutch town – aims to help the disabled, went to Kyrgyzstan – a country in Central Asia that is a size of Great Britain, but the population is 5 million.    

Pepijn went to Kyrgyzstan for a two year volunteer work that was coordinated by VSO (International organization on development). He was asked to help to establish the infrastructure for the poor families with disabled children that could help them to develop in their domestic conditions. He has been cooperating with the local colleagues so they could receive knowledge and the project could be sustained without Pepijn’s participation.  

To understand better the situation in which these families had been, Pepijn visited the uncountable number of tiny mountainous villages and talked to the parents of children. Every family has their unique destiny. Here is one of them…

Babushka (grand mother in Russian) and Timur

Once Pepijn meets a senior woman who has a grand son, Timur who was 9 years old at that time they met and suffers from numerous development defects. The grandmother tells him that her son left his family because he could not stand shame for his wife and a newly born son, Timur.  Her son has never returned. “But we are always glad to see him back. He will definitely return.” The grand mother has a solid hope.

Sometimes it seems that the poorer person, the more hopes s/he has. If to follow the village tradition, her daughter in law is cursed and she must be isolated. To have a physical or mental inability in the society of Kyrgyzstan – is a taboo. In 93 % of the cases, the husband leaves his family when he finds out that his wife gave birth to a disabled child. Isolated by the co villagers, the woman stays face to face with her problems. The daughter in law of this grandmother runs away and the grand mother stays alone.

The grand mother tells how every morning she was going to the forest for some brushwood. In winter the temperature is – 26 °C, it is very important that stove works sufficiently.  As firewood  has become scarce, she needs to go farther and deeper into the forest. She would come back with a bunch on her hunched back. After collecting the firewood, she would look for a job. She says in her age it was difficult, but not to work means not to have food on the table. According to one tradition, her son should have become their breadwinner. But now it is not possible. “What does Timur do when you are away? – asks Pepijn. “He cannot walk on his own or even use a toilet, and if the stove does not work, the house temperature is below zero”. The grand mother silences and avoids Pepijn’s eyes. Her silence resembles the personal outcry.  

After short time, the grand mother calmly cheers up. “But everything is in past, one kind person gave me a cow” – she continues talking. Pepijn is confused: “A cow? What do you mean by that?”. “Because of this cow, after collecting the firewood, I can stay home and take care after Timur. From milk that the cow gives, I make some products for selling. From what we sell we make our living. I can stay home all day, massaging Timur’s muscles, and I play with him and try to teach him some words. He develops slowly, yet rightly.”

“One of our neighbors recently visited us” – the grand mother continues her story. She has not seen the neighbor since Timur’s birth. Now having a cow in the house, that is considered to be not a modest property in Kyrgyzstan, she, as an owner, is better treated and respected. Sometimes the neighbour asks permission to milk the cow. The grand mother allows but she also asks that the neighbor kid would play with her grand son.  It is tricky. The neighbor gets angry as he is afraid of catching this disease of “handicap virus”. But the need enforces him and Timur meets his peer for the first time in his 9 year old life. All this has happened due to a cow.

Since he left this family, Pepijn was thinking over this strange story… Because of a cow, Timur develops, and they start integrating and being respected by others. That cannot be accidentally correlated!  Sometimes something is really much more amazing than a fantasy.

Pepijn sees the positive and outstanding changes in the life of this family that are so practical, tangible and concrete!

Help for a wider number of families

Upon his return to The Netherlands in 2007, he resumes his work in the organization “Philadelphia Foundation”. He wants to realize his cow idea and together with his friends and family he searches for funds to buy cows by organizing various auctions.

He continues working with Nazgul who is a contact person in Kyrgyzstan; she also ensures that from the local market and later the same peasants cows are bought. Pepijn finds the sources through the collective efforts.

With Nur Bala Pepijn establishes a contact person in Kyrgyzstan in February 2008. It guarantees sustainability of the project. He and his family directly pay the salary of a selected worker.

The initiative to create the charity “Give a Cow”

In 2008 Pepijn, together with his family and friends, managed to give more than 30 cows to the vulnerable families with disabled children and the recently opened center “Center of day care of children with disabilities” in Kyrgyzstan.

As many people have whole- heartedly liked the project, it was decided to spread the word about its vision and aims in all over The Netherlands. After a conversation with Pieltjes, a notary from Nunspeet, the official location of the Philadelphia Foundation, it was decided to open a foundation.

On 26 November, 2008 the charity organization “”- Give a Cow- was opened. It aimed to attract more people to the project; they could have been someone’s friends or unknown people. 

One saying goes that one forces himself or herself to help others to whom s/he is not related . In the end of 2008, Pepijn leaves his job in the Philadelphia organization. His heart moves him towards helping the disabled in developing countries rather than in The Netherlands. He applies for a job in ICCO ( Interchurch organization in the field of development cooperation) and he is accepted. From January 2009, he is the incumbent regional manager of the organization in Central Asia. He resides in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

In his free time he will be cooperating with us in the affairs of our foundation and the fact that he is in Kyrgyzstan is truly beneficial to us.

Food for Thought

“It's only when we truly know and understand that we have
a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing
when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest,
as if it was the only one we had.”. 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross