by Puja Singh
The sari clad women in the hills that skirt the capital city of Nepal Kathmandu gaped in awe at the President of Heifer International. They knew that life had changed a lot for them since they came together in a group to be the beneficiaries of a Heifer project. The trainings and constant brainstorming had given them insight and direction to self-reliant and sustainable lives for their families and communities. As they met the individual who headed the organization that had brought this change in their lives, a woman, they felt the magnitude of change they could influence.
Heifer Internationals President Jo Luck visited an ethnic Tamang communitys Passing on the Gift ceremony on a windy ledge. Ramkot, was a winding and bumpy 45 minutes from the city but a world away from the hum-drum. In a skeleton of a two story community building, the ceremony was conducted in all Nepali galore, the walls, doors and windows, yet to be built when the money would be collected by the women. Along with the project activities which included raising goats, buffaloes, chicken and growing organic vegetables and floriculture, a specialty of this area, the women also briefed the guest on their plans for this building which included a room for a health-post, a cooperative office and a place for the children and youth.
In Jhor, outside of the city, Jo Luck participated in an interaction program with the women. Amongst other things they talked of the hopes and aspirations for the future and how Heifer had given them the platform to make them come true. Jo Luck also visited the homes of some project participants and heard their individual life stories.
Puja Singh is a Heifer communication officer based in Kathmandu, Nepal.