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Heifer board members and executive staff join members of the Manakamana Women's group in Koluwa, village, Nepal. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee Heifer board members and staff join members of the Manakamana Women's Group in Koluwa village, Nepal. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee.

KOLUWA VILLAGE, Nepal—There's nothing like seeing the transformation Heifer provides small-farm families up close and personally, which is what several members of the Heifer board and Heifer executive staff are doing this week in a visit to Nepal.

In one day, groups traveled to visit villages soon to be involved with Heifer and then by comparison spent time with fully involved women's groups such as Manakamana in Koluwa village that are already leading massive change in their communities.

Manakamana Women's Group members are proud of their accomplishments. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee Manakamana Women's Group members are proud of their accomplishments. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

The women here, wearing striking black and white "uniforms," spoke proudly about the changes in their community since the Heifer project first began. "Before" and "after" maps showed each member's improved house as well as community improvements such as a child care center, biogas plant, a "wishing pond" and an irrigation project tackled by the men of the village.

Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee. Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee.

One of the members, Netra Kumari Mahato, said "no one has to be hungry now."

Board member Franklin Ishida asked the assembled group: "I have seen from your numbers and maps how you have changed economically, but can you share how your lives have changed in your hearts?"

A member responded, "We feel this has been a rebirth for us; we're very happy from the inner part of our hearts. We have built so much confidence to move forward. Though we didn't go to school, we don't feel we are behind now.

"From the help you have given us, we have been able to help others in return. We still have a long ways to go, and we are making plans to continue moving forward."

The women would have continued to talk about their plans and progress until dark. When their visitors got up to leave, they summoned a drummer and began to dance and sing to celebrate all their hard work. Heifer board members and staff joyfully joined in as you can see in video below. Video and production by Geoff Oliver Bugbee.


Author

Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.