Heifer International''s mission is to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth using livestock and training in sustainable agriculture community development projects to help millions of people become self-reliant. Since 1944, Heifer has transformed the lives of over 18.5 million families by giving them gifts of cows, goats and other livestock. Along with the animals, families receive training in animal care and conservation for environmentally sound agricultural development. There is also training in community development, strategic planning and other subjects as needed, including literacy. The process takes several years and is not declared successful until the community shows sustained improvement in income and self-reliance. Each family that receives an animal agrees to Pass on the Gift by sharing the offspring of their animal with others in need, so each gift of livestock starts a chain of self-reliance that spreads throughout entire communities.