Goats can graze easily on the grasses of Southern Sudan. They provide milk (up to a liter a day) and cheese. She goats multiply. Goats are used for food and their dung is used as fertilizer. By pooling resources, neighbors can begin micro-businesses as small dairie
A she-goat can provide up to one liter of milk a day, making a difference between real nourishment and hunger. Goat milk is considered high quality protein, a good source for calcium and fat and a good source for riboflavin, which is important for the body’s energy production. Excess milk can be made into cheese and sold in the market, and she- goats have kids, building income for families and single women.
One goat opens a world of survival, and allows a family to have the safety net to pursue education and micro-business.
G.E.M.S. Development Foundation was established by Ellen Ratner to expand the mission of the Goats for the Old Goat program, which was initially established to raise money and awareness to fight hunger in South Sudan. We give goats to returning former slaves and people in South Sudan who are hungry – especially because of the ongoing civil conflict. The G.E.M.S. Development Foundation was formed as the program expanded. G.E.M.S. stands for Goats, Education, Medicine, and Sustainability.
Over the last three years, donations have been made to acquire goats for liberated slaves who were returning to South Sudan. More than 7,000 goats have been donated to the people of South Sudan to provide sustainable sustenance for their families and a means to begin their lives again. In addition, programs have been developed for the women of South Sudan who are suffering from PTSD. One of these programs combines a therapeutic breathing exercise and a beading technique which is also therapeutic, but gives a means of providing money to the women for the necklaces that they make and which are sold in the program online through our website.
Education is provided for children through the Sidney Simon Mustard Seed Project; and we have recently contributed to the Camboni Primary School to assist in their educational efforts. We also have a basketball program (and work with the NBA for equipment and clothing), as well as providing wheelchairs for polio victims. These polio victims make mahogany crosses which are sold to individuals through our online efforts and give them a sense of dignity in helping obtain these wheelchairs. These polio survivors also make mahogany crosses which are sold to individuals through our online efforts and give them a sense of dignity in helping obtain these wheelchairs. Medical teams with whom we work have travelled to South Sudan to participate in diagnostic assessments which will help bring much-needed medicines to these people, and will serve as a way to help prevent disease.
By working with and expanding these programs, the G.E.M.S. Development Foundation plans to be a constant presence in South Sudan fostering sustainable development. G.E.M.S. Development Foundation is its own nonprofit corporation, with its own Advisory Board, whose programs are sponsored by WINDREF (The Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation), a U.S. nonprofit corporation located in New York, qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our relationship with WINDREF allows us to more effectively raise money in the United States and enhances our opportunities to work in South Sudan, particularly in education and medical research. This sponsorship also facilitates our fundraising in Europe, where WINDREF is a registered charity in Great Britain.