Editor's note: International Women's Day is Sunday, March 8. The theme this year is #MakeItHappen, celebrating the achievements of women everywhere in whatever field they pursue. Follow along this week as we higlight some of the women we work with who are feeding their families, becoming small business owners and educating their children, among a host of other achievements.
The southern rim of Micang Mountain, located in Sichuan Province's Nanjiang County, enjoys rich resources for goat-raising thanks to its plentiful grassland. Heifer China came to this county to help local poverty-stricken farmers raise goats. Many project participants changed their lives for the better, finally realizing futures full of hope with self-reliance thanks to Heifer China's assistance with poverty-fighting efforts and community support from project participants like an exceptional woman called Wu Kaihui.
Forty-one year old Wu Kaihui lives in Nanjiang County's Caoba community. Her husband works outside their community for much of the year, so she single-handedly manages household chores and cares for her elderly parents and two children, who are in school.
On, June 21, 2011, a Heifer China project was formally implemented in Caoba, through which Nanjiang project partners gifted goats to project participants. Although Wu Kaihui was interested in joining the project, she hesitated because she wasn't sure she had the right skills and experience to raise goats. Noticing her reservations, Heifer China staff, project partners and community leaders encouraged her, explaining that she would receive all of the technical training and support she needed to be a successful goat farmer. Wu Kaihui's worries were eased when she learned that she would be a part of a self-help group (SHG) and, with newfound confidence, she signed up and received her very own goat.
Once she was fully engaged in project activities, Wu Kaihui received one-on-one guidance on technical issues from Nanjiang project partners. She overcame one difficulty after another and actively participated in community activities. In fact, she never missed a training session. "My children are too young and my parents are too old, so I have to make time to study hard to improve myself and live up to the hope of the Heifer project and those who care about me," she said. "I cannot become a burden to them. I am determined [to continue on] the road of self-reliance." And she has done exactly what she said she would do. In her spare time, Wu Kaihui even gives her fellow villagers technical farming guidance.
Give a goat today and watch a family thrive for a lifetime. Or give the gift of women's empowerment to #MakeItHappen for women everywhere.
Today, she has more than 60 Nanjiang yellow goats. She has further diversified her farm and also raises five fattening pigs, three breeding cattle and 20 poultry. Her livestock activities bring in 20,000 yuan, or about $3,186, a year. Wu Kaihui has managed to emerge from poverty and into a life full of hope.
During one visit with Heifer China staff, Wu Kaihui shared, "Although [I am] an ordinary rural woman and I am unable to understand any great truths or principles, I know the [importance] of not forgetting the people who dig the well to give me water for drinking. So, I will not forget Heifer International, who helped us get the happiness. I am determined to take the lead to pass on the livestock's offspring and the techniques to other villagers. I hope that more people like us will walk out of poverty and live a happy life with Heifer China's help."
Story and photos by Hu Jinsong, Heifer China Project Partner