Fiona Anchal, a businesswoman who returned from her journey to India with The Hunger Project and Business Chicks in February, reflects on her experience. Business Chicks is a professional network based in Australia that connects businesswomen through their online member community, national events, strategic partnerships, and fundraising efforts. Their mission is “to be behind every great woman.”
“I’ve just arrived home from India where I met and engaged with courageous women, leaders in their communities, who completely altered my perspective on life. They wedged my heart open and I am eternally grateful. My soul has been lit and I will forever sing a new beat.
The trip to India with The Hunger Project was part of a Women’s Leadership Program with Business Chicks. I knew it would be incredible. What I hadn’t anticipated was just how much it would give me the capacity to expand my heart and capture the true meaning of life and what it means to fight for your community, your family and every day basic rights.
The women I met in the rural villages, Urmila, Buti, Pushpa and Sushma, just to name a few, have all the odds stacked against them. They live in a society where women are not respected and lack basic education, families live in extreme poverty and experience consistent chronic hunger, running water is scarce and toilets in every home are not a right but a luxury. I visited the homes of these families and asked myself, in 2014 where we live in such abundance, how did they get left behind?
Despite this, the women I met displayed more courage, determination, passion and pride than anybody I’ve ever met in my life. They have inspired me with their resilience and their ‘never give up’ attitude towards a better life for themselves and their families. They have touched my soul with their love and kindness.
As a group of women, who are mostly non-literate, they have achieved the unimaginable for their village and their accomplishments are enormous. They have installed water pumps with clean running water, built schools, daycare centres, roads, medical centres, ponds and watering holes giving them access to unlimited water, local council office for their regular meetings, and toilets in every own house. And most importantly these women are fighting for a better life for their daughters, providing schools in their local village so that they can educate to year 12 and are saying no to child marriage, giving young girls a life with more opportunity.
These women are the face of India and their children and the next generation will be the force that will bring about the end of world hunger. I am sure of that!
The Hunger Project is the catalyst for such a shift. By providing ongoing training and support to the women in the local villages they are educating and empowering women to step up and change their circumstances, not only for themselves but for their children’s children.
My eyes are open and I am forever changed. I know my purpose and I am here to join the movement towards ending world hunger.”