This weekly post shines a light on a handful of stories from Heifer International's From the Field section on Heifer.org.
The self-confidence that running a successful enterprise provides is transformative.
Before women in India's Kiro ki Dhani village formed a Heifer Self-Help Group, they lacked confidence, always speaking in whispers and hiding their faces when speaking in their veils. After they formed the group, they pooled their money and awarded loans to group members.
The individual members bought goats, cows and plots of land to expand their agricultural enterprises. Their success gave them confidence and motivated them to continue improving their lives. They feel empowered and are respected. They dug deep wells in their village, brought electricity to their village and traveled across India to meet other women's groups and offered support based on their own experience.
In Armenia, students in Heifer's YES! Youth Club spent the past year studying business. The students began various income-generating activities based on the available resources and their geographic locations, including raising garlic, breeding animals, honey production and selling baked goods. The experience of running a small business gave these burgeoning entrepreneurs confidence.
Armenian project participant Avet had to think quickly to save his business when a hailstorm approached his garlic field. He had to find a solution to protect his garlic, so he built a roof to cover his vegetables. "This was the first time in my life that the whole responsibility was on me, and I made it," he said. "I was really proud of myself that day."
Heifer understands the relationship between business success and confidence. In Ukraine, Heifer and its project partners are launching a learning farm to teach co-op members further about modern farming practices. The business techniques that participants will implement after receiving training will ensure their success. The confidence the success gives will motivate them to continue innovating and improving their lives.