When we ask “how many children do you have?” she spontaneously replies “13!”. By reading the surprise in our eyes, she adds “well, I only have 7 baby goats, 6 are already adults”. With a big smile on our face, we clarify that we were rather keen to know more about her offspring.

Nayagi is a charming 36-year old South Indian lady from a village in Tamil Nadu. She comes to our monitoring session with a delicately-tainted coloured sari, long black satin hair combed behind the head and a very sweet and candid smile. By looking at her, you would never guess the hardship she had to endure in life. Luckily, her only daughter, Puila, is doing well and currently attends the 2nd standard grade. Nayagi’s old mother also lives under the same roof, in a little house built after the Tsunami hit the Tamil Nadu’s coasts in 2004 and nearby a peaceful river punctuated by fishing boats.

In 2013 Nayagi got 14.500 rupees (approximately 210 Euro) from a sponsor through CAF to buy 4 adult goats, 3-year insurance on them, and the fees for the doctor when needed. These goats represent an asset for her in case of need, helping her to complement her meagre monthly revenues from her work as a cleaner in a hospital for 6000 Rs/month (85 Euro) and from the 1000 Rs (14 Euro) monthly widow pension given irregularly by the government. The education only for her daughter costs 3.500 Rs/year together with 500 Rs/month for the transport.

And the goats proved to be extremely useful when, in 2014, a flood caused by the nearby river inundated her house and forced her to disburse 7.500 Rs for several trucks of sand. She sold some of her goats (only males she declares, females are too important for breeding new babies!) and managed quickly to extinguish the debt. In addition, Nayagi was also able to reimburse 60% of the credit she had received into a revolving fund managed by the Women Federation she belongs to so that other women can be helped in case of need.
This is only one of some examples of CAF-funded Family Micro-Business projects – when we see Nayagi in the field calling her goats, and only her goats approaching her quickly – we cannot stop thinking how small amounts of money can greatly help some marginalised people in India. Come to see with your own eyes! CAF yearly field trips are open to anybody who is interested in learning more about the incommensurate needs of the marginalised people of our difficult but still beautiful world.