Beatrice Biira visits East Church Children
Julia Curran, East Church Christian Education chairman Pamela Curran’s daughter, became aware of an international relief organization called The Heifer Project. Julia recognized it as an ideal mission project for the Church School children in 2006 and Pamela quickly agreed.
After researching the Heifer Project’s mission and history, Julia and Pamela began the mission project at East Church. One of the first things Pamela did to engage the children in the project was to read them a charming book entitled “Beatrice’s Goat” (by Page McBrier, illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter), which tells the story of a Ugandan girl named Beatrice Biira whose dream of attending school was realized through a change in her family’s income thanks to a goat provided by The Heifer Project. It was hard for the East Church children to imagine poverty so profound that a goat could make the difference between going to school or not, but if the book said it was true it must be so.
Throughout the spring of 2006 the children collected money in little plastic Arks provided by the Heifer Project for that purpose, with the goal of raising enough money to purchase a goat for some family just like the girl they read about in the story book.
As it turns out, the girl in the book is a real person who had not only realized her dream of a secondary education in her native Uganda, but who had won a series of scholarships permitting her the opportunity to continue her education.
At Connecticut College! And if that weren’t remarkable enough, Ms. Biira happened to have a local connection with East Church parishioner Paula Sinn.
It is not hard to imagine the excitement when it became clear that the Beatrice from the book might actually be able to visit East Church. And that is exactly what happened on Sunday, June 4th. Young and old at East Church were enthralled that morning as the children’s message was presented by “the girl from the book”: Beatrice Biira!
If you are interested in learning more about the Heifer Project and Beatrice Biira, some links are provided below:
- The Heifer Project helps millions of people world-wide by providing food- and income-producing animals as well as training in environmental management, environmentally sound farming practices and community development. Learn more at their web site: The Heifer Project’s site
- The book Beatrice’s Goat is available from several sources including
- Several articles have been written about Beatrice Biira’s remarkable story. An excellent article may be read at the Connecticut College web site and another on the CBSNews.com web site.