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Thirty-seven-year-old Vivianna Quesada lives in Salcedo, in the Dominican Republic. When Heifer first came to her village, her husband was an alcoholic, and she was afraid he would leave her permanently, without money or food for her seven children.
But then Heifer and CAFESA, the local grassroots organization, started offering veterinarian classes near her village, so that residents would be able to administer medicine to animals suffering from parasites or mastitis.
These "para-vets" are paid by the livestock owner - they usually gross around $75 a month. But their real success is their new-found confidence and self-esteem.
Heifer's Animal Well-Being Guidelines
Heifer conducts training programs for para-vets, or Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW) when local professional veterinary care isn't available. It's one of several strictly-followed Animal Well-Being Guidelines, which also include:
From Worst to Best
Salcedo's trainers remember Vivianna as one of the worst in the class, and they considered asking her to leave. What they didn't know was that she was always in pain, suffering from ulcers. But Vivianna was determined to finish the class, and today, she's the first one her neighbors call on for assistance.
Vivianna bought four pigs with the initial money she earned as a para-vet, and now she's saving to convert her wooden house into one made of sturdier cement blocks.
"Before, I had to ask my husband for everything," she said. "Now, my biggest liberation is making my own money. I'm a new Vivianna, and if my husband leaves, I will be OK."