During a visit to a rural village in the province of Pondicherry, India, staff members from Good Shepherd Economic Development program received an unexpected lesson.
The initial purpose of the visit was to hold a meeting with the poor women of the village who did not have the items (or grant money) needed to generate income through cottage dairies, cottage goat farming, and vegetable and fruit vending.
With the help of supporters and encouragement of village elders, we met with the women to present our grant ideas and supply them with the commodities needed to get started in these business ventures.
To our surprise, the response to our idea and presentation was near silence. A village elder let us know that the women had something to say.
Their voices needed to be heard.
The women were thankful for the idea of being blessed with a grant to help them start economic ventures of their own. They were empowered by the generosity of supporters like you, to help them move out of poverty.
They stood up and asked for permission to choose which supplies and sustainable business they wanted to pursue — broom-making.
In their village, there was an ample supply of raw material, such as inexpensive dry coconut leaf spines, binding cords/twines, small axes and knives for chopping, and chopping boards. They shared with us and the village elders that all of these commodities would be well within the $10 per person grant parameters.
It was an inspiring scene made possible by empowered women who were able to speak their minds.
Not only did these women have the manpower, raw material and know-how, but they were determined to produce something out of seemingly nothing.
The inspiration did not end there.
Within 24 hours of approving this new grant, these highly-motivated rural, impoverished women got to work and produced the first set of brooms to be sold!
By starting with a voice — these women continued to progress economically through their broom-making venture, all to leave poverty behind.
Our staff members returned to headquarters amazed, inspired and rejoicing that they had learned something radically new from these empowered women.
We couldn’t support powerful hard-working individuals like these without your help and we are thankful for you. Your investment changes lives!