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2013 International Women's Day
Though women own less than 1 percent of the earth’s land, they produce 80 percent of the developing world’s food.
Investing in women works. When women are empowered, their families’ health, education, nutrition and incomes improve.
See Heifer’s Toolkit for Action to see how to spread the message and make a difference for International Women’s Day.
At age 14, Dhankumari Lama was a bright student. But in the hilly village in Nepal where she lived, more schooling for a girl like her wasn’t appropriate. She was considered old enough for marriage, and money was scarce. Struggling to care for her three younger siblings while studying, she sank into depression. Her parents removed her from school.
Then Dhankumari joined a women’s group as part of a Heifer International project. She was the youngest of all the women, and the others encouraged and nurtured her. She was the only member who could read and write, and became indispensable to the group. As part of the project, her family received goats from Heifer International.
Using her skills to maintain the group’s records, Dhankumari became excited again about learning. When she shared her desire to continue her education, her fellow group members came to the rescue. They pooled their money to help her pay for tuition, uniform and school supplies. They told her she would do more for her community by completing her education than by staying behind.
As she renewed her studies, Dhankumari felt hope for the future again. The goats she had received from Heifer had borne kids. For the first time in her life, she could make some money and invest it in schooling.
Dhankumari finished grade school in 2010, and has continued to pursue her dream of education. Now 21 years old, she is enrolled in college seeking an intermediate degree in business.