Women and men working together: a success story

Suliha's life changed when Oxfam and Sri Lankan partner FORED formed a self-help women's group in her community and provided training in goat rearing. Suliha, a 37-year-old mother of six, was elected leader.

Suliha had reared goats before, but every time an emergency came up she would sell them to get money. The goats were often sick with diseases contracted from leaves sprayed with pesticides, and sometimes died as a result. She was spending a lot of money on veterinarian visits.

Her life changed when Oxfam and Sri Lankan partner FORED formed a self-help women's group in her community and provided training in goat rearing. Suliha, a 37-year-old mother of six, was elected leader.

“Our group of 32 divided the initial loan of $2,800, which ensured a livelihood for all members,” she said.  Training through a program called DAFT - diversified agriculture farming techniques-helped her start a home garden and turn goat manure into organic fertilizer.

“I now grow chilies, beans and grains at home. The vet now comes to the village to treat our goats, and I have added more to my herd”.  

Many women like Suliha improved farming techniques in their communities and started their own small businesses.

Confidence and self-respect

“We can rely on the group to lend us money for emergency expenses,” she says. “The training and encouragement I have received has given me confidence and self-respect. I am asked for by name, even by government officials when they visit the village.”

Perhaps most important for Suliha was the change of attitude in the community. More and more people acknowledged that families prosper when women and men work together.

“My husband and I now realize that men and women should work together. Only then can we alleviate poverty”.

Thanks to Suliha for telling the story of how her life has improved as a result of the support of Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec and the Canadian International Development Agency with Fored and other Sri Lankan partners in the 2007-2010 Ampara Integrated Rehabilitation and Development Program.

To support more programs like this, please donate to Oxfam Canada.

You can read more success stories here