11 May 2010

Heifer International at USAIN 2010: ‘Not a hand out – a hand up’

James De Vries, Executive VP of Programs for Heifer International, used the Parijat Women’s Group (PWG) of Imadol, Nepal as a shining example of Heifer’s approach to sustainable development. De Vries stressed that the program isn’t about the animals, it’s about empowering people to improve their lives, and to help others to do the same.

In the instance of PWG, the 13 women received either two sheep or two goats and either one ram or one buck after training in the Heifer cornerstones for just and sustainable development and good animal management. Heifer’s assistance had a life transforming impact on the women of Imadol. One women, now PWG’s leader, said that until she joined this group, she had no voice; she only existed through her husband.
Because of Heifer, the women of PWG found their voice.

Empowered by that initial ‘gift’ of livestock, the women of PWG used their income to send their daughters to school and to organize a local savings program and a peer lending group, thus improving the quality of life of their entire village. They have also mentored similar groups in 20 neighboring villages, spreading the ‘wealth’ of the Heifer spirit.

Since it was founded in 1944, it is estimated that Heifer has helped 12 million families around the world. For more information on Heifer International, go to: http://www.heifer.org

Story by Debbie Currie

More on the 2010 USAIN Congress

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