Training Helps Woman Become Role Model in Indian Community
Kaushallya Devi has become an extraordinary example for women in her community. Although she is considered part of the poor, “untouchable” social caste in India, she manages to provide for two daughters and one son. Before joining Heifer India, her only income was generated from agriculture and working as a day laborer. Her husband had helped support their family, but an accident left him mentally disabled. Her difficult situation became worse when her brother-in-laws denied her family help. Devi felt hopeless and was now solely responsible for her three children and her husband’s treatment. Heifer India’s project holder, Ghoghardiha Prakhand Swarajya Vikas Sangh (GPSVS), approached Devi and encouraged her to join the project Promoting Socio-economic Transformation of Marginalized Communities through Agriculture and Livestock Management in Madhubani. Her poor economic condition led her to join the project. She contributed to the Self-help group’s (SHG) monthly saving fund and received training on SHG management. Devi eagerly participated in every training and group activity in order to build a better life for her family. Heifer’s intervention also allowed her to receive training on Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her dedication and talent made her an excellent candidate for a Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW). Over 10 days of training, Devi learned about animal care and treatment at the GPSVS Center. She advanced quickly to Improved Animal Management (IAM) training and received a medicine kit to begin treating livestock. Now, she provides local communities with basic veterinary care and earns enough income to support her family’s needs. Devi generates 125 Indian rupees (about $2) per day and more than 3,500 Indian rupees (about $57) each month. This income may seem meager, but it allows her children to attend school and pays for her husband’s treatment at Dharbhanga Hospital. Devi said although she still has struggles to overcome, she will continue to learn. “I may walk through dark valleys, but I will still work for my economical sustainability and a better future.”
In one subproject, 135 original families and 70 POG families received the gift of buffalo. Since then, project participants have not only begun increasing their household income through the training and inputs provided by the project, but they also initiated projects for the benefit of the entire community. In one of the community’s self-review and planning sessions, it was noted that a main limitation to their increased income from goats and buffalo was a lack of suitable roads for motor vehicles. So in their own initiative and effort, the members of the Gayeatri Pariwar Bachat Samuha group have were able to build a road by lobbying $1,149 from the Kamal Mai Village Development Committee (VDC) and the District Development Office. The community members donated two weeks’ worth of labor for this project. Men from the community also gave their full support for this project. The road was built and joins the Kamalamai VDC with the capital of the district, providing greater access to markets.
This project has addressed the goal/objective of empowering families with the tools and skills needed to develop economically-viable and ecologically-sound agricultural enterprises:Since project implementation, Heifer China has assisted 434 families in the target villages of Weichang County. From this, 211 original families have received beef cattle and another 34 families received cattle through POG. The remaining families have been assisted through technical training and SHG formation. Project families better understand the connection between hygiene and human health, and are passing on this knowledge within their communities. Education and public services have improved as villagers attend Heifer trainings. During this reporting period, eight trainings on cultivation and planting technology were provided for 687 participants. The topics included fodder nutrition, organic fertilizer and herb planting. Villagers have also applied training on common cattle diseases to improve animal welfare.