b'As a community trainer, Chhoti organizes women into self-help groups, empowers them through agriculture and business training, and helps them engage in collective business. But this work is not without its difficulties. There are differences, Chhoti shared.There is discrimination also on the basis of gender and caste.Bihar reels under the weight of a deeply entrenched caste system, a social structure in TOPChhoti Kumariwhich a persons relationships, occupation and leading avalue in society are determined by their place in training sessionthe hierarchy. Although prohibited by law, the on Heifers 12 Cornerstonespractice of caste continues to fuel social exclusion with a self-helpand influence ones access to opportunities, group in Lagma village, Bihar,especially in the communities of rural Bihar.India. The effects of the caste system on women are TOP RIGHT exacerbated by restrictive gender norms. These Chhoti explainsprejudices rarely allow women and girls to pursue the concept oftheir interests and harness their potential. leadership and vision buildingIn this context, community trainers like while leading aChhoti play an important role in bringing women Cornerstonestogether and implementing Heifers community training for women. development model, which instills the skills and BOTTOMRIGHT values communities need to rise above bias and Chhoti leads anbuild social cohesion for shared growth. activity exploringMany women were reluctant to join the group the restrictions imposed oninitially, Chhoti said. I went to them, explained women inthe purpose of this group and how it will function Bihar throughso they are fully aware of how it can benefit them a physical representation.then, they gradually joined the group. 12| SUMMER2022'