Did you know that goats have the power to change lives? Well, not exactly goats all by themselves (although they do play a huge part) but an organization called Heifer International that brings animals to women in the district of Alwar in northwest Rajasthan. Sisters, Paris, 15, and Paloma, 13, recently volunteered their time with Heifer International and learned what an incredible impact a single goat can make on a woman’s life, the life of her family and the growth of a village.
It’s hard sometimes to imagine that there are places in the world where just being born a woman means that you will receive less education than men, be required to dress a certain way and be expected not to speak too loudly or voice opinions! This, unfortunately, has been the reality in Alwar and many places around the globe… but Heifer International and volunteers like Paris and Paloma are making a difference! This is how it works: Heifer International gives goats to women, teaches them how to care for their goat and how to use the goat to make money (like selling it’s milk). Additionally, they teach the women to voice their ideas and opinions and demonstrate to them how the boundaries placed on women in their culture is limiting their potential and eating away at their humanity. Now that’s a huge undertaking! But guess what? It’s WORKING!
The women are becoming empowered, becoming the breadwinners of their families and modeling different behavior for their daughters. Women that were once making 10 rupis a month are now making 100 rupis a month and are teaching and donating goats to other women in their communities. How beautiful! Now if all that wasn’t enough, I’ll tell you what puts the cherry on the sundae for me – the impact all this has had on Paris and Paloma! To see the way this has inspired them, moved them and planted a desire in them to continue to volunteer and help other people is amazing and one of the greatest gifts we can give our own daughters. Women may not have the same restrictions in America as they do in Alwar, but volunteering and teaching our children how to volunteer certainly seems to expand and loosen the restrictions we often put on our hearts. So, Heifer International has done some pretty amazing work, not only for women in India but also for our young volunteers. Do you want to get involved? Go to www.heifer.org and learn how you too can donate your time or your dollars.
Paris talking about women’s rights:
Paloma talking about women singing in India: