A Heifer India project participant stands in front of her new concrete house, which was made possible through the organization's sustainable agriculture development program.

 

“In the last six months, the biggest change has been that from a thatched house. I have been able to build a concrete house.”  —Rukkhi Devi

Life is getting better for Rukkhi Devi. She looks at the two goats she received from Heifer India. These now have four kids. The two to be passed on are ready for the big ceremony. The goats changed her life. She got three liters of milk every day: she kept one for her family's consumption and sold the rest at about $1 per liter to the local merchant. The family has sold two bucks for 5,000 Rupees (about US $ 100) this month. About 10 months ago, they sold a male kid male for $40. The family has earned a total of $140 that has increased their family income.

But in order to get this result, Rukkhi had to learn how to keep her livestock. She learned the benefits of keeping the goats in a shed so the hot summer sun would not burn their skin. She learned how to stall-feed them too. The fodder seeds Heifer provided also helped.

Rukkhi is also seeing the benefits of the vegetable seeds she received. Now the family has eaten green vegetables every day for the last three months. These positive results encouraged them to plant eight more trees this year.

The highlight of the project were the three import trainings Rukkhi received:

  • The nutrition & hygiene training has been very informative. Rukkhi says it has helped her learn and understand how to maintain personal hygiene and to keep the house and its surroundings clean. She understands the importance of a toilet in the house. She also understands the strong emphasis on good nutrition for good health.
  • The training on smokeless stoves has helped her understand the hazardous implications of smoke on health, especially on the health of women in the house. She says she understood how the smoke would affect her vision, her eyes and her respiratory tract. She is glad that these problems, which were deemed to be eventualities, will not affect her or her family now. She also understands that it will save on fuel and fuel costs, and also reduce the ill effects caused to the environment. She is happy that she will be able to cook twice as quickly, the utensils and dishes will not turn black from charcoal and the kitchen will not be covered with soot.
  • The training on rain water harvesting systems helped Rukkhi realize the importance of water management. She says her family would save a total of about $57 annually on water because of collecting rainwater. Given the scarcity of water and negligible amount of rain in the region, the rainwater harvesting system would help them maintain an unrestricted supply of water throughout the year. This would impact the lives of the women positively because they are the ones who travel long distances to fetch water, she adds.

Editor's note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. In Asia/South Pacific, our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates. You can read the first story about Rukkhi Devi and her family here. 

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Heifer India