Laxmi lives in the remote district of West Rukum in a two-room hut with a thatched roof. Her husband had worked as a day laborer in India for years, returning home periodically with his earnings. But one fateful day in 2018 Laxmi found out he was not coming back. He had married another woman.
Abandoned and destitute, Laxmi struggled to feed her two children. Their small plot of land produces enough corn and potatoes for only three months of the year, so she had to take out loans to buy food for the remaining months. In order to repay the money lenders, she carried loads on her back for daily wages. Her teenage son left school to seek employment in India, while her daughter dropped out to help at home. Laxmi was devastated that she couldn’t afford to keep them in school.
Desperately poor and without a male provider, this family had lost all sense of value and dignity in the community. Their situation was one of hopelessness.
Sometime later, Shanti Nepal, one of DDHCFN’s partners, began a community transformation project in that region. They organized small group meetings, health education sessions, and income generation efforts in Laxmi’s village. She joined one of the groups and shared her desire to learn new skills to become self-sufficient. Acknowledging her dire need, Laxmi’s group members approached Shanti Nepal with a special request to help Laxmi lift her family out of poverty.
Consulting together, they proposed that she should begin raising goats. Goat meat is a sure source of income. An added benefit is the manure that would provide fertilizer for Laxmi’s small field. Fodder would not be a problem, since grass is available in the nearby forest and saplings can be planted around her field. Marketing would be simple, given the high demand and the lack of competition, as no one is raising goats in the area. As well as providing Laxmi’s family with a new livelihood, this empowerment project would also restore their dignity.
Shanti Nepal agreed to the plan. Thanks to a grant from DDHCFN, Laxmi and her children have the support they need for their new beginning. They will receive training on goat raising, fodder sapling planting and pest management, as well as funds for purchasing seven goats and constructing a goat shed. Laxmi will also join a regional agriculture cooperative to receive regular advice and services. She is ready to begin!
Shanti Nepal is a long-time local Nepali partner of DDHCFN, reaching out to marginalized communities in wholistic ways to bring about lasting transformation.