By Jennifer Johnson
Kendall Kemerly was only 8 years old when her dad, Jason, told her about a little girl raising money for water wells in Africa.
“I realized I could do that, too,” she says. “I decided to ask for money that Christmas to buy cows for needy people in other countries.”
Today Kendall is 13, and Kendi’s Cows has raised enough money to give several cows to children in India. Although cows are considered sacred there and are not slaughtered for meat, their fresh milk gives vital nutrients to children with HIV and AIDS.
“These kids need the milk from the cow so their medicine doesn’t make them sick,” Kendi explains on her website. “Milk is very expensive in India, so if you don’t have a cow, you only get a tiny bit in your tea. If the kids can’t take their medicine they will become even more sick.”
The organization has also branched out to give chickens and goats to street children in the Philippines and entire chicken farms to families in Haiti. The recipients are taught to milk the goats and work the farms, resulting in long-term sustainability as well as short-term nutrition.
“When a family has enough money and food to survive, they can eventually send their children to school,” Jason says. “Kendi has always loved school, and so Kendi’s Cows is built around the idea that you can buy a cow, save a life, and send a kid to school.”
The Christ In Youth SuperStart! conference for fourth- through sixth-graders invited Kendi’s Cows to be the official mission for the 2014/15 conference year and sent Kendi and her dad to Haiti so they could see firsthand the difference their work was making.
“When we got there, I met a little girl, and we became friends,” says Kendi. “Before we left they told us she probably wouldn’t have survived without the chicken farm.”
“As we toured the area, one of the farmers cried when he met Kendi,” Jason adds. “We realized that what started as a cute idea one Christmas had become a ministry that was saving lives.”
Kendi’s Cows has raised more than $50,000, but Kendi has even bigger plans for the future; the organization is working with other ministries in Ghana, Liberia, Cambodia, and Haiti and meets regularly with missions teams, churches, and potential partnering organizations.
“This is still Kendi’s vision—I basically provide transportation and write the checks,” Jason laughs.
“I want to continue doing this as long as I can,” Kendi says. “And when I get older I want to be a pediatric neurosurgeon and travel around the world so I can help more people.”
Contact Kendi if you’re interested in learning more or getting involved—e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org!