How a passion for justice turned Cindi Wolk into an unlikely cattle rancher
When Cindi learned about IJM’s mission, she desperately wanted to save the children who were enslaved and abused. She knew she wasn’t going to be the one kicking down brothel doors, but then an improbable thought came to her: “What about cows?”
A broken heart and a wild dream
In 2007, Cindi sat in her sun-soaked kitchen, laid her head down on the table, and wept. She had just finished reading about the stories of young girls sold to brothels as an attempt to escape poverty in Just Courage by Gary Haugen. She was heartbroken.
“I wanted to go over there. I wanted to be the one kicking down the door. I wanted to grab the girls,” says Cindi. “But I know that’s not the part I can play. So, I just looked out that window and said, ‘What can I do?’”
Seeing her 80 acres of unused farmland, Cindi, together with her husband Bob, had a “eureka” moment – they could raise and sell cows for justice.≈
Cindi would be the first to admit that she didn’t know a thing in the world about cows and had much to learn. Despite that hurdle, she remembers that, “I was so moved I said, 'We will find a way.'".
Using YouTube as her guide and justice as her driving force, Cindi has developed a thriving herd of cows on her farm. But it was no easy feat.
Through all the challenges, Cindi shares that this has become her favorite hobby.
“It’s been the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life!”
Over the past decade, Cindi’s generous donations have supported the equivalent of 11 rescue operations.
Cindi says, “Our farm has actually sent $47,276.25 USD from cows! With the matching gifts, the total is almost $70,000 USD! Ten years. Pretty totally unbelievable in fact!”
With the success of her cattle business, Cindi and her husband decided they want to do more. They have opened an apartment on their farm as an Airbnb, hoping to share stories and information about IJM with guests and raise even more money.
The Power of Persistence
Cindi’s incredible fundraising is inspiring in itself, but her impact does not stop there. She has told everyone who will listen about IJM and the girls trapped in brothels who sent her down this cattle ranching journey.
Since the beginning, Cindi has made it clear that she was on a mission that was not for profit. She approached buyers and farmers alike to share about IJM and how the proceeds from each sale were going to send rescue to people around the world. No one seemed to care. Unsurprisingly, Cindi was undeterred.
Year after year, Cindi showed up at the auction, bold in her conviction that this is what she could do to end slavery. Her steady bravery and persistence have made a difference.
Cindi joyously explained how people who had previously not acknowledged her or what she was doing have had a change of heart, talking with her and even supporting IJM independently. She’s even gotten acknowledgement in front of the entire auction house for her unique mission.
“Just seeing this transition simply because I keep showing up, keep reminding them of who I am and what I'm doing—well, that was amazing!” exclaims Cindi.
Everyone has a part to play in protecting and rescuing people from violence.
IJM is comprised of lawyers, social workers, community activists—and people like Cindi and you. Whether it’s cows or a lemonade stand, the power and impact of committing to creative ideas can make a lasting difference.
Feeling inspired? Learn more about using your time, talents and creativity to bring rescue and protection here. (Link to https://www.ijm.ca/fundraise)