In the farming villages of Tamil Nadu, India,many families live in extreme poverty, their income at the mercy of the monsoons. For up to six months a year they can earn 50p a day working on farms, but then the rains come and strip them of what little livelihoods they have. In these months, families live in starving conditions, dependent on government rice rations.
In conjuction with our local partner, the People’s Association for Poor Women’s Development (PARWD), Tzedek is helping 50 Dalit women (lower caste) in these impoverished village communities to earn higher, more stable incomes to support their families. Tzedek is providing these women with 3 goats each, as well as training in goat-rearing. Resilient animals, goats are less affected by the region’s turbulent weather patterns, making them a far more dependable source of income than agriculture.
And with high demand locally for goat meat, as well as the opportunity to sell both the goats’ kids and manure for profit, the women can expect to see a significant return from minimal investment. By the end of the year each woman will be earning approximately £40 per month, substantially supplementing their existing agricultural income.
In the first year of the project, 25 women were trained in goat rearing and received 3 goats each (2 females and 1 male goat). Their income has quadrupled to Rs. 40 to Rs. 160 a day. Each woman has given back a goat at the end of the first year which allowed another 12 women to benefit from the scheme.
The Knock-on Effect
After the first year, each woman gave one of their baby goats to another struggling woman so that other families may benefit from this new livelihood. Extending the project in this way, PARWD predicts that within five years, 125 women will b making a living thanks to the goats that Tzedek provided. This project therefore has the potential to lift not just a few families, but entire communities out of poverty.