SNSF undertook a project with Heifer International (2005-08) for rehabilitation of Tsunami affected villages in Thigyagvelli Panchayat, Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu.
The project was based on 12 cornerstones of Heifer, aptly encapsulated in the acronym ‘Passing the Gift’ – Passing the Gift, Accountability, Sharing and Caring, Self-Reliance and Sustainability, Improved Animal Management, Nutrition & Income, Gender & Family Focus, Genuine Need & Justice, Improving the Environment, Full Participation, Training & Education and Spirituality. The project, christened as JIVICA (Joint Initiative for Vocational and Integrated Community Advancement) focused on endowing affected families with livestock, an important source of livelihood in the village. The free livestock (goats) were donated to all 12 villages in a single phase. With a gestation period of 150 days, the offspring of the goats gifted in the villages of the first phase were passed on from one family to another of a neighbouring village. ‘Passing the Gift’ ceremonies always brought forth emotions akin to a wedding of a girl, as she leaves her parental home. With such high level of camaraderie and better income levels (availability of livestock), actualization of higher life goals of justice, improving the environment, full (community) participation and spirituality seem more real.