Gifts in action

Piglets by the pair

Hla Aye is delighted to have pigs to care for again. He received them when they were about 15 days old and expected that in the near future they would be producing some of their own offspring. Photo: Jane Beesley/Oxfam

A family places hope in two little pigs to help them recover from hard times.

Hla Aya and Thin Thin Soe, a husband and wife team, make their living as day laborers working in the rice paddies in Myanmar. When Cyclone Nargis struck in 2008, it wiped out all that they owned, including the family’s pig—an asset they couldn’t afford to replace. And they weren’t alone.

The storm left devastation in its wake, destroying or damaging homes, water supplies, roads, bridges, and boats. To help families like Soe’s and Aya’s recover, Oxfam distributed a pair of piglets to 20 households in their village. It was part of plan that included reaching 43 villages and delivering 800 piglets—all to be purchased nearby to help boost the local economy.

Aye couldn’t stop smiling when he was asked about his pair—a male and a female—two weeks after receiving them.

“We’re happy because these piglets will make us more (financially) comfortable,” he said. “If the pigs breed, we’ll be able to sell the piglets.” Doing some quick math, he figured how long it would take before the sow might get pregnant and produce, with luck, a litter of five to 10 babies. At a month and a half old, each of the piglets could be sold—helping the couple meet the dreams they have for their two children.

“If we have money, we will send them to school,” said Soe.

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