Bóthar, the livestock aid agency, is seeking a final push from the public for a Christmas fund-raising programme which will go towards an airlift of cows to Rwanda in January.
The animals will be donated to widows of the Rwandan atrocity of 1994, which claimed the lives of almost 1m people over 90 days.
Dublin football manager Jim Gavin joined Bóthar on its 25th anniversary airlift in October to the African nation where he witnessed the life-changing impact the Irish cows have on impoverished families.
Last week, he travelled to Shelton Abbey open prison in Co Wicklow with two Dublin players — Michael Darragh MacAuley and All Ireland winning captain Stephen Cluxton.
They went to see where many of the Irish cows that have been sent by Bóthar to families in countries such as Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been reared.
“I saw for myself first-hand only two months ago just how much an Irish cow can turn lives around. Many of the cows that were sent out there were reared in Shelton so it was great to see how their project works,” he said.
Bóthar’s marketing manager Kate Finucane said: “We have another airlift of animals in January so this last push to try and bring in the financial support to fund the transportation of these animals is hugely important to us.”
Padraig O’Brien, Shelton Abbey Prison chief officer, said: “We have been partnering with Bóthar on this programme for nine years now; it has been hugely successful. It has real meaning for the prisoners and gives them a sense of rehabilitation.”
The animals have either been donated by dairy farmers across Ireland, purchased by donors through Bóthar’s online gift shop or by groups such as schools and community organisations.
Bóthar was established in Limerick in 1991. It has since delivered thousands of animals annually to families in 35 countries across Africa, Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe.
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