Wellesley College Grad Setting Up Haitian Sustainable Goat Program

Plan to build and teach program on sustainable goat management wins Student Inspiration Award from UPenn, sets Wellesley College on course for Haiti.


University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine recently gave a $25,000 award to Wellesley College Alum Nikki Wright and a classmate of hers, Lisa Gretebeck to launch a program in Haiti aimed at improving their goat farming practices. 

“For the most part in this country we tend to think of veterinarians as doctors for our pets, and often times we think of our pets as family members,” Wright shared in an email to Wellesley College. “For the people of this part of Haiti, animals are far more than pets, they are a critical asset for the family. They may be the only chance that a family has to raise enough money to send their children to school and to put food on the table, even merely once a day.”

With the assistance of, and a plot of land donated by the iF Foundation, a non-profit micro-financing organization and the award from UPenn's 2012 Student Inspiration Awards, the duo intends to build a hurricane-resistant home for 20 goats, and convert an existing building into a lab, classroom, storage facility and living space for the program.

“Since starting veterinary school,” she said told writers at UPenn, “I have discovered that my desire to further the concept of One Health is best served via my passion for food animal medicine, and in particular the fields of infectious disease, epidemiology, and food security.”

See the full story on the Wellesley College website.

The project does need to raise some additional money to get off the ground. You can also follow the program's progress on Facebook.

In 2010, the Carribbean country was hit by an earthquake which damaged Port-au-Prince and other towns, before sinking parts of Haitian shorelines beneath a tidal wave. The town responded: Wellesley High School students turned Haitian art into a life-saving opportunity, and a Wellesley student non-profit organization delivered some children’s books to Haiti. 


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