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New Send A Cow chaplain: "it's about empowering people to change their lives"

Bath-based international development charity, Send a Cow has welcomed long term supporter and fellow farmer, Reverend Debbie Pow, as its new chaplain ...

Bath-based international development charity, Send a Cow has welcomed long term supporter and fellow farmer, Reverend Debbie Pow, as its new chaplain.
Debbie, who is currently a curate of Stephen’s church in Lansdown, Bath, has been involved with the charity since it launched in 1988. She said: ‘’I’ve known about Send a Cow since the very beginning. Many years ago I was working for a dairy farmer near Trowbridge whose heifers were on the very first planes to Africa.’’
Send a Cow was founded by Christian dairy farmers almost 30 years ago. Faced with crippling EU milk quotas which were forcing them to kill healthy dairy cows, and responding to an outcry for milk from the Bishop of Uganda, they made the decision to send their cows on planes to benefit communities recovering from the recent civil war.
Nowadays the charity works across seven countries in Africa proving poor smallholder farmers with the training, tools, seeds and livestock to grow their own food and lift themselves out of poverty.

Debbie says: ‘‘It never fails to surprise me how when you give someone a resource, like a cow, and training, they can start to look after themselves in such a short space of time. I love the way Send a Cow works in a grassroots approach and makes a difference. It’s not about handouts, it’s about empowering people to change their lives.’’
Debbie starts her new voluntary role just as the charity is in the middle of its largest ever fundraising campaign, Planting Hope. The appeal is focusing on poor rural families in Ethiopia and has the support of the UK government who are matching donations until 31 December.
Debbie says her top priority is to acquaint herself with the charity’s 40 plus UK staff and to become a source of emotional and spiritual support:  ‘‘I want to get to know all the staff and be a resource they can call upon. I’m not an employer, I’m neutral,’’ she said. She also hopes to fly out to Africa to see the charity’s work first-hand.
Despite only being ordained last year, Debbie says she’s known about her calling for many years: ‘’14 years ago I had a dream I’d be a curate … God eventually made that plan a lot clearer. Now I’m not only a curate but I’m doing it at the church I dreamed about.’’
Debbie succeeds Reverend Richard Wilson who was chaplain at Send a Cow for over eight years and recently became Rural Dean of Bath.
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