story by Puja Singh
video by Geoff Oliver Bugbee for Heifer International
In this short video, adhibashis (tribal) women dance arm-in-arm to the crescendo of drums in a Passing On The Gift ceremony where 15 cows were passed on to new families in need in Holdibona, western Bangladesh. This celebration of life something that tribal people all over the world are experts in oozes into this Heifer project event. It is not long before more women in headscarves join the synchrony. Islam discourages women from living out of the boundaries of their home. Taking part in public dancing is one of many such prohibitions. But the women in headscarves, watched by men, children and visitors, still join their sisters in the hearty footwork.
The Increasing Community Capacity for Holistic Development Project in Holdibona, Vashapara, Moradighi and Gopalpur villages incorporates 223 tribal and Muslim families, into a project that aims to achieve food security, gender equity and self-reliance through livestock, agricultural inputs and training. Poverty, religious differences and natural disasters pose a threat to this relatively-new nation separated from Pakistan in 1971. Heifer partners with local non-governmental organizations to fight such woes through its values-based holistic community development model.