Misean Cara CEO Heydi Foster delivered RTÉ Radio 1’s A Living Word programme from 8th October to 12th October 2018. Heydi spoke about her experience visiting Misean Cara funded projects in Colombia, South Sudan, India, Zambia and Haiti.
In this episode, Heydi speaks about a project run by the Good Shepherd Sisters in India that supports Dalit women through human rights and economic development activities.
A Living Word – Empowering Vulnerable Women in India
This episode was aired on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday 10th October 2018.
Scientists tell us buffalo milk is good for the heart. On a trip to see Misean Cara’s work in India, buffalo milk gave my own heart a lift. I was visiting a project run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, working with poor communities to improve their livelihoods. I met a group of Dalit women, members of one of the lowest levels in India’s ancient social hierarchy. Dalit women, even more so than Dalit men, have no voice and little opportunity to improve their lot in life.
Each of the women had received a buffalo cow so that they could sell the milk to generate an income. The women decided not to compete with each other. Instead, the twenty of them formed a cooperative. They agreed to sell all their milk on to local retailers at a common price and not to under-cut each other. They managed the cooperative themselves. They met each week and faithfully gave a portion of their earnings to repay the cost of their buffalo.
Now they had more control over their daily income and, consequently, more control over their own lives. Within their own homes, it earned them a greater degree of respect.
I asked the group of women what would make their life better? I should have guessed but I didn’t. When the answer came – “a second buffalo” – we all laughed at how obvious it was. With such modest improvements, lives are transformed.
With or without scientific evidence I can honestly say that buffalo milk was good for my heart.
You can listen to the other A Living Word episodes on the Audio Page of our website.
Featured Image: The Good Shepherd Sisters project in Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India.