No javascript detected! Our online shopping basket requires javascript. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER

Who Run the World

Seizing Life By The Handlebars: Meet The First Woman to Ride a Bike in this Small Town

By Molly Mitchell June 3, 2019

Rashmi Nandan Kisku caused a stir in the remote village of Sauntha, India when she started pedaling around town on a bicycle. She was the first girl in town to ride a bike. Many in Sauntha disapproved and approached her mother, Lakshmi Kisku, to tell her it wasn’t appropriate. But Lakshmi Kisku was Rashmi's inspiration to grab life by the handle bars, and she remained resolute in her decision to give her daughter a bike. “I want her to ride a bicycle,” she said. “I think they should also think like that. Why should we be behind anyone?”

I want her to ride a bicycle. I think they should also think like that. Why should we be behind anyone? Lakshmi Kisku, Rashmi's mother
Lakshmi Kisku and her daughter Rashmi work in their onion patch together.
Lakshmi Kisku works in her onion patch.
I saw people free. The sense of freedom even for girls. Girls on bikes! Lakshmi Kisku, on her first trip to Delhi

Lakshmi Kisku is a 30-year-old mother of three girls and founding director of an agricultural producer company. The company is a coalition of small-scale women farmers who formed the for-profit company. Lakshmi Kisku is a forward-thinker and go-getter in Sauntha. She was inspired to get Rashmi a bicycle when her work took her to Delhi. The trip to the progressive capitol opened her eyes to the possibilities for women and girls. “More than the houses and the roads,” she said, “I saw people free. The sense of freedom even for girls. Girls on bikes!”

Lakshmi Kisku came back from Delhi with a new vision for women in her community. “I want to bring change out here,” she said. “Even if it is a little harder to achieve here, I want to see the change.”

Lakshmi Kisku has come a long way since 2010, when she was 22 and a member of a newly-formed co-op. She joined hoping to save money through a savings group with other women. At the time she and her husband didn’t have any savings, or even a bank account. Like most people in the region of Bihar, she and her husband were day laborers in other farmers’ fields, and they didn’t have enough food or medicine. Lakshmi Kisku and her husband had to choose between food and medicine, and the whole family stayed sick most of the time. Rashmi was malnourished, and even today she is small for her age.

Rashmi Kisku rides her bicycle.
Rashmi Nandan Kisku, 18, was the first girl to ever ride a bicycle in her village.

“I was always troubled,” Lakshmi Kisku said, remembering that time.

Getting two goats and some business training turned it all around. She realized that owning goats provides a sense of security as well as a form of income—goats are so easy to sell in her rural setting; they work like an ATM for her. Today she has 17 goats. Lakshmi and her fellow project members’ success led them to form their company. So far, the company has sold rice, maize and goats.

When Rashmi finished first in her class, Lakshmi Kisku threw her daughter a party. A lot of people came, including members of the upper caste. Before, Lakshmi Kisku would not even come out of her house if someone from a high caste was walking by. In many parts of India, an upper caste woman would not let a lower caste person even enter their house or kitchen. But Lakshmi Kisku found herself cooking with an upper caste friend. “I feel very proud of what I have achieved,” she said. “Now I have achieved the level where I am entering the house and sitting equally with upper caste people.”

Lakshmi Kiksu is most proud of the impression she has made on her daughters. Rashmi told her one day, “You are not a simple person. You have been to the place where the prime minister goes and speaks. You went and spoke there. You are not ordinary. You are a special person.”

Read more about the Kisku family and other trailblazing women in India in our full story, The Curse of the Kosi. 

Free Download

You only need to enter this information once to download digital resources.

Basket Summary

edit
Your gift will be matched!

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }}

Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ {{ product.price | currency }} Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ FREE Monthly
{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }} Free

Eligible for Gift Card funds

No products in cart.

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }}
Basket Total {{ cartProductsTotalAmount | currency }}
Gift Card Applied {{ -giftCardAmountApplied | currency }}
Subtotal {{ cartSubTotal | currency }}
Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

edit

Billing Address

{{ billingAddress.first_name }} {{ billingAddress.last_name }} {{ billingAddress.address_1 }} {{ billingAddress.address_2 }} {{ billingAddress.city }}, {{ billingAddress.state }} {{ billingAddress.zip }} {{ billingAddress.country }}

Company

{{ billingAddress.company }}

Shipping Address

{{ shippingAddress.first_name }} {{ shippingAddress.last_name }} {{ shippingAddress.address_1 }} {{ shippingAddress.address_2 }} {{ shippingAddress.city }}, {{ shippingAddress.state }} {{ shippingAddress.zip }} {{ shippingAddress.country }}
edit

Shipping Method

{{ orderShippingOption ? orderShippingOption.description : ""}}

Gift Card Remaining: {{ giftCardTotal | currency }}

Your Gift Card is now active. You can purchase Gift Card-eligible items indicated with  icon.

Basket Summary

Step 1 of 2 Step 1 of 3 Step 1 of 4 Step 1 of 1
Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Your gift will be matched!
Your basket has been updated.
The following item(s) are now sold-out or unavailable and have been removed from your cart:
-{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle}} ({{ product.quantity}})
Gift Card balances can be used for this product

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }} To: {{ product.giftCardRecipientName }} From: {{ product.giftCardSenderPrint }} Email: {{ product.giftCardRecipientEmail }} Delivery: {{ product.giftCardDeliveryDate }} Message: {{ product.giftCardMessage | truncate '200' }} Activation Code: {{ product.giftCardCode }} Delivery: {{ product.additional_info['deliveryDate'] }} Message: {{ product.additional_info['personalMessage'] | truncate '200' }} 1 {{prods["title"]}}

{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }}/month
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
${{ product.price }}
$ {{ product.price }} Free
Remove
After checkout, you can create and customize an honor card by clicking the link on the confirmation page.

Gift Message

Personalize your message up to 5 lines in length.

Preview

heifer.org
Basket Total {{ cartProductsTotalAmount | currency }}
Gift Card Applied {{ -giftCardAmountApplied | currency }}
Subtotal {{ cartSubTotal | currency }}
Monthly Subtotal {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}
It's not a hand out. It's a hand up.

For maximum impact, try adding a few items to your basket.

Browse The Gift Catalog
Secured Checkout

Increase Your Impact with a Donation Visit the Gift Catalog

Make an even bigger impact with a donation from our Gift Catalog

Responsibly-Sourced, Artisan-Friendly Gifts Shop the Marketplace

Shop the Marketplace for responsibly-sourced, artisan-friendly gifts
Secured Checkout
Continue Shopping
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[2].title }}

Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 4 Select shipping method. Orders after 12:00 PM CST will be shipped the next business day. Orders on Saturday or Sunday will be shipped the next business day.
{{shippingOption.description}} ${{shippingOption.shippingCost}}
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary Edit {{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Payment Information

Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 3 Step 4 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted

Payment Summary

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }}
Basket Total {{ cartProductsTotalAmount | currency }}
Gift Card Applied {{ -giftCardAmountApplied | currency }}
Subtotal {{ cartSubTotal | currency }}
Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}
Pay By Credit Card
Pay with
Pay with
We were not able to process your request. Please try again or contact Donor Services at 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437).
Secured Checkout