The Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with more than 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Home to the ancient Indus Valley civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four of the world’s major religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism—originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium and shaped the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early 18th century and colonized by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence, marked by a non-violent resistance led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Poverty in India is a major issue. Rural Indians depend on unpredictable agriculture incomes, while urban Indians rely on jobs that are, at best, scarce. Since its independence, the issue of poverty within India has remained a prevalent concern. More than 75 percent of poor people reside in villages.
A major issue effecting poverty in the country is the country’s long history with social division. This is a major weakness in the economy, that growth is not perceived as being sufficiently inclusive for many groups, especially Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and minorities. Additionally, gender inequality remains a pervasive problem and some of the structural changes taking place have an adverse effect on women.
India is among the world’s most disaster prone areas with a population of more than one billion. The geographical statistics of India show that almost 57 percent of the land is vulnerable to earthquakes; 28 percent to drought; 8 percent to cyclones and 12 percent to floods.
Heifer's Work in India
Heifer International India focuses their work within communities in Orissa, Bihar, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu (where they work in tsunami affected communities). In these four states, projects are implemented with the support of ten local NGO partners.
Participants have also built their capacity through participating in various trainings, such as Cornerstones, Self-Help Group (SHG) management, kitchen gardening, gender justice and improved animal management. All these trainings have empowered the participants and increased their leadership qualities.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Kitchen gardening training; Vermicomposting / Compost pit
Post-harvest management and processing: Account management training
Market development: Microcredit lending programs; Tsunami victim livestock revitalization
Technology: Improved cooking stoves; Rain water harvesting tanks
Nutrition: Sanitation and Hygiene training
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Anandi Jatav is an example of what women's empowerment can do.
Dr. Panda and Mr. Prusty watch as Heifer India project participants participate in a Passing on the Gift ceremony.
“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
Ladies from various Women's Groups in Bihar, India break it down and show us how it is done!