A Buffalo Called Wenvoe


On a recent trip to India, Gary Smith, the Pastor at Vale Village Church bought a buffalo and gave him the name Wenvoe! You may wonder why. Since the church was started they have partnered with the charity that Gary runs who have been working in India since 2005.

Partnering with a Gateway ministry in Rajahmundry, Andra Pradesh, Ignite, Vale Village Church, Message Wales and many other churches and individuals have paid for the construction of more than 25 churches. In addition, they developed a 300+ pupil school for Dalit children. Dalits are the lowest caste in India and used to be called “untouchables”. They are from some of the poorest villages and were it not for the Gateway School many would not have access to education. This English medium school teaches most of the same subjects as in the UK plus Hindi, the Indian national language and Telegu, the language in that part of the country. Since its inception it has produced excellent results.

Six years ago money was also raised to build a children’s home on the school compound. The 25 children housed there are either orphans or “semi-orphans” meaning they have lost one of their parents and the surviving parent is simply too poor to care for them. This is where the buffaloes come in! We are establishing a small herd to provide milk for the children and also possibly generate an income for the children’s home. Gary shared some information:

“When I was visiting this August I saw that there are currently 4 buffalo on the land. Rotation means that only 2 are currently providing milk. Now clearly I am not a herdsman but I tried to understand the facts and this is what I discovered. Each buffalo produces about 3 litres of milk. The children’s home needs 9 litres per day. So with only 2 currently available to milk it meant they were buying milk to meet the shortfall. A quick call home to our church and we decided to gift them one to get them over the current ‘crisis’. In order to ensure this supply remains constant we will need to find a way to provide a further buffalo. In addition they need to pay a stockman. In simple terms an additional buffalo in milk would provide the income for the whole operation. Ultimately we want to raise the funds for a total of 10 buffalo. This would feed the kids, pay the stockman, provide a small income and have capacity for buffalo not to be providing milk.

I discovered a few other things. Milk from cows is not consumed in India. That is because it curdles in the heat and also the Hindus consider it to be a sacred animal. Also because Hindus are vegetarian and Christians do not eat beef there is almost no value in buffalo meat. Meaning male calves are worthless. The most surprising discovery is just how expensive buffaloes are! Wenvoe the buffalo cost almost £1,200! This is expensive by most standards but in India it means the herd is incredibly precious to their owners”


If you would like to sponsor a buffalo, the cost is £1,200. Or if you would like to make a part cost donation for any amount, please make a cheque payable to Ignite and post it to 17 Rectory Close, Wenvoe, CF5 6AQ