In order to complete Cornerstone Training, groups involved with Heifer International must first receive several mandatory trainings. India’s office has recently added “Nutrition and Hygiene Training” to its existing set, and luckily for me it was debuted during my field visit.
Avni Malhotra, India’s Country Director, visited a women’s group in the state of Bihar. They talked about water safety and discussed techniques for washing foods and utensils hygienically. The class was a success and everyone had a good time. I probably had the best time of all, so much so in fact, that I was too busy to get photos of the finished product: the amazing home-cooked meal!
Group member, proudly showing how she keeps her goats so healthy.
Today I visited a Self Help Group formed by a group of amazing women in Bihar, India. They are doing extremely well, and proudly shared with me their accomplishments and success stories.
As I listened to the hostess explain the benefits of her garden, I was brought a delicious cup of chai. Another woman politely interrupted the other, explaining that I had witnessed one of the numerous, practical changes brought on by the Cornerstone teachings. Since the hostess was busy facilitating the meeting, her husband made the chai for the group. The couple looked at each other and smiled, as a group member explained that this wouldn’t have happened just two, short years ago.
They took time out of their busy routines to pose in front of their impressive Kitchen Garden. Both were all smiles, clearly!
Standing along side a very supportive husband and father.
So tomorrow, I am flying off to Bihar, a north-eastern Indian State which borders Nepal. I am beyond excited, as this will be my first field visit with Heifer India. I have worked in the Delhi-based office for 2 weeks, learned about headquarters operations, and read many case studies in preparation.
None of those things can replace the actual experience of meeting the individuals, families, and communities involved in these projects. I conducted some quick interviews with a few of the Heifer staff members to get an idea of what to expect from the upcoming experience. If what is going on in these communities is even just half as amazing as what these three describe, I will most definitely be “swept off my feet”, like Vineeta exclaims- I can’t wait!