Sunday, October 21, 2012

Helping a grandmother and her grandkids...

Recently we became aware of a grandmother, Shaili, in a nearby village who was in need of some help. She is 79 years old  is raising 3 of her grandchildren by herself, with no real income except for some small amounts she can earn as a labourer. 

We went out to visit the Shaili to get some more information.  She is of the Dailit or untouchable caste. The 3 kids are the granddaughter Roshani 12, grandson Roshan 9, and the littlest granddaughter Rajani 5. Shaili’s husband died 5 years ago and her daughter in law died 3 years ago. Her son , the father, of the kids sadly abandoned his family and has no contact with them.  Her other children, another son and two daugthers sometimes support their mother but none are in a position to do much. The children go to the local government school but stuggle to afford  books, uniforms etc.  Shaili said that she has trouble feeding the family and often has to beg from her neighbours. She is a very hard working woman who is in a very sad position.
She is fortunate to still have the family home, this at least means that they have a roof over their heads and the house is meticulously cleaned and looked after. She has no real means of making an income aside from a few square metres of land to grow vegetables on or working as a labourer on neighbours fields. She has been gifted a goat from people in the village but every second baby the goat produces will be returned as payment. She has also been gifted a heifer calf but it is still young and a long way from producing milk. She and the children work during the day to gather grass and fodder for their animals and carry home.

When we visited Shaili she implored us to help her grandchildren. She asked us to provide an in milk cow to help provide a small daily income for her. She said that she worries over the future of her grandchildren as without an education there are few opportunities for the Dailits. The children also worry about their own futures, and are enthusiastic about going to school.  They realise the importance of education.  
After being touched by Shailis story we decided to help her. We asked our friend Kuber to start looking for a suitable cow immediatly, as it takes some time to identify the best cows for sale. Kuber did very well in finding a young, two year old cow who had just had her first heifer calf. This cow is just begining to give milk and will be a valuable asset for years to come. The hefier calf can also give milk in a couple of years. We also contributed to build a shelter for her to keep the cows in.
The day we delivered the cow was a very happy day for Shaili, and for us too. The children were very excited to see the new addition and welcomed us into their home. We hope that this cow will make life a little easier for the family, providing a small income to put food on the table and providing dignity to a hardworking lady who is trying to do the best for her grandchildren. Thanks go out to my mum and brother who generously donated to help Shaili and her family.

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