Sambhali Trust

Sambhali Trust's Goals We, being Sambhali Trust, a grassroots women's empowerment non-profit organization in Jodhpur who works almost exclusively with Dalit women and girls, are teaching our members how to become independent and self sustained. We do not offer pure handouts. This concept is what makes our organization and promotion of women's empowerment successful, which is shown through how Sambhali Trust was only created a few years ago and already is affecting the lives of over three hundred.
Nov 10, 2014

Sheerni Educational Project Update

Girls having eyesight tests
Girls having eyesight tests

The girls returned to the boarding home on 26 June before the schools reopened on 1 July after the summer holidays. We prepared books, uniforms, shoes, etc. to send the girls to school, however, this month, the government schools have a new system: the schools don’t provide the books any longer and the students have to purchase the books themselves, so we spent a lot of time buying the books they needed for school.

The girls are now in many new classes at the beginning of a new school year and 4 girls, Leela, Nakhtu, Pooja, and Aasu jumped up a class and went straight to the 5th class instead of the 4th after some very good exam results before the summer break.

One of the Sambhali tutors Vimlesh, spent some time teaching Math and other subjects to all of the girls as well as helping them with their computer homework. Nirmala the Housemother helped them with their homework. All the girls are studying very well, and the volunteers help them with homework, with English reading and pronunciation and Maths.  The volunteers have noticed a big difference in reading skills; Priya, Manisha and Vimla can read an entire book and are fluent, whereas Rekha and Pooja find it difficult to read if they don’t know the text. At the end of the afternoon, the volunteers spend time communicating with the girls in different ways, by speaking, playing games, reading stories, singing and drawing. There have been between 4-6 volunteers helping the girls at the boarding home this month, who go every afternoon Monday-Friday for 3 hours. Exam-time came round again on 21 August and the volunteers helped to train the girls for their tests, but they noticed that most of the girls didn’t really understand what they were learning, just questions and answers, so they spent time trying to explain to the girls the stories they are reading, although it proved slightly difficult as the volunteers can’t speak Hindi.  During August there were a couple of birthday celebrations for Santosh, Vimla and Pooja as well as the Rakhi festival. Unfortunately Naktu’s grandmother died and 10 girls left to go back to the village for a couple of days for her funeral.

In September, we had some new volunteers. They found that in Math, most girls knew how to calculate and so they checked and corrected the exercises. Alfisha, the newest and youngest girl at 7 y ears old has some problems with Maths and needed more tuition. Priya, who is 14 years old and excelling at reading is now in Class 9, whereas Rekha is 15 years old and is only in the 5th class. The volunteers help Rekha on a daily basis with reading to help her improve as with all those girls who are still reading very slowly and also concentrate on understanding the content. Also they found mistakes in the actual sentence structure in the exercise and reading books; the volunteers wanted to talk to the teachers of the school about this so that the mistakes can be corrected in the books.

A couple of guests arrived from Australia (Timi and Mary) who had already visited a couple of times before. They noticed that the girls were learning about computers at school, but it was just theory and they thought it would be more effective if they provided a laptop for the sole use of the girls in the boarding home. So the girls were very happy with the new laptop; now the volunteers need to teach all the girls how to use it...!  In early September when the weather is now slightly less hot, the girls go every Friday to the park area surrounding the temple after they’ve finished their homework to play outside and have fun. They also had a painting competition one day, where the winners won a small prize.

On the 15th and 16th September,  the girls went to the ASG hospital for checking their eyes and some girls they found it necessary to wear glasses and they received the glasses for free. They have a doctor from the Mathura Das Mathur Hospital in Jodhpur regularly going to see the girls once a month to check on their general health and well-being. On the 20 September the girls visited the cinema and watched the movie called "Mary Kom" about a women who achieves her dream and starts her boxing carrer against the will of her father. The girls really enjoyed it.  On the 25th the girls had a day’s holiday for Navatri. At the end of the month, we showed them short animation movies in English for listening practice; it was a short story about finding a treasure.  Again, we celebrated  3 more birthdays this month. Certain girls are now showing great dedication towards their schoolwork:  Priya, Vimla, Manisha, Santosh, Nisha, Anu and Pankaj are interested in all the subjects in school.

In October, Renate Massmann-Krei, volunteer and now President of Freunde fur Sambhali in Germany returned again for the 2nd time. It was thought it would be better to change the structure of the learning by dividing the girls into groups, which reflect their class in school.  They concentrated on practising verb tenses because they had learned the five tenses (simple present, present progressive, simple past, past perfect, present perfect and future) at school in just a few days, which meant that they got confused about how and when to use them. The volunteers practised with the easy tenses like simple present and present progressive and then will progress to practise the other tenses.

With Anu, Priyanka, Samta, Vishnu and Pushpa we practised the exercises for the test specifically, where the test was about a story which they have to memorize and then fill in the gaps to say if it's right or wrong.   With Aasu, Leela and Naktu we practised fractions; at first they had problems understanding what to do but finally they understood it.  The older girls like Vimla, Priya and Santosh are mostly learning by themselves and if they have questions, they can ask the volunteers.

Renate suggested an idea of using the Diwali holidays, for doing workshops in the morning. We started with a workshop about the earth, moon, sun, continents and oceans. The other topics were means of transportation and the different western festivals and holidays and a special workshop on handicraft skills The students liked the workshops a lot and because of this, we want to launch a "workshop day" once a week. Currently we have lots of ideas for the workshops in the future.

On the 8 October two guests came from America came to Sambhali Trust and also went to the boarding home, so we danced and sang different songs.

On the 17 October, the girls had 1 week holiday because of Diwali. They had to do special Diwali homeworks like drawing oil lamps and candles, but also English and Math. On the 30 October to 1 November the girls had exams in school. The majority of the girls received good results. A few had problem in Math like Pooja and Vishnu.

Practising English at home
Practising English at home
Studying with volunteer
Studying with volunteer
Group photo..
Group photo..
Very happy girls with their new laptop
Very happy girls with their new laptop
working out a jigsaw...!
working out a jigsaw...!
Aug 26, 2014

Post Project Funding: A Visit From a Traveler

Sambhali kids showing off their skill
Sambhali kids showing off their skill

The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India and Bangladesh, about her recent visit to Sambhali Trust.

I was super excited to visit this organization as my interaction with the founder – Govind, was so welcoming and friendly, I wanted to skip all the site visits in between and get to Jodhpur, Rajasthan directly. Unfortunately, a few days before I found out that Govind’s brother passed away and so I wasn’t sure if I would even get to visit the family. However, when I got there, despite the grief, Govind still make a site visit possible for me. Thanks to Govind, an amazing team of volunteers and staff, I got to meet the ladies and their children who benefit from the Sambhali Trust.

Sambhali is housed within a beautiful guest house that Govind runs. The NGO section is also beautiful with inspiring paintings, women learning sewing in one corner, and practicing in another corner. The best part is that the environment is really kids friendly – while mothers study, the children are free to play and stay occupied with books and games. You can see the enthusiasm for photos as they pose for my camera. By the time you leave Sambhali, you can’t help but feel really positive about the world and that good things are happening.

A major strength of Sambhali are its volunteers, who come from all over the world for extended volunteering stints. They contribute their design and organizational knowledge as well as skills and continuously improve the organization. After the training center, I went to the advanced sewing center, where women were busy fulfilling an order they had received. There they create the cutest stuffed toys which are not only sold at the Sambhali Boutique, but also go on order to other countries. These stuffed toys have great designs, thanks to ideas from the volunteers and the creativity of the women, and looked so tempting I wanted to steal a stuffed elephant and the mermaid lion, which was my personal favorite. Thank you Sambhali for the site visit and great memories! I definitely hope to be back there someday, stay at the guest house, volunteer and spread some Sambhali love! 

A beautiful work environment
A beautiful work environment
A class running on the side
A class running on the side
I get to spend some time with the kids
I get to spend some time with the kids
At the advanced sewing center
At the advanced sewing center
Aug 11, 2014

Sheerni Self-Help Group Project Update

Meera making dhal and palak in Nutrition workshop
Meera making dhal and palak in Nutrition workshop

In January 2014, a new group started (Group 9) with 12 new women. We explained to the women how the groups work and the rules, opening a bank account and starting to deposit monthly savings. Another 11 women were also keen to join in this project and so we established Group 10 in May 2014 and they also have recently opened a bank account. They are all keen to take loans through Sambhali, because the interest is low, (Per 100 rupees there is 1 rupee decreasing interest).

There are now 112 women in 10 Groups within this Project.

The women have attended the monthly meetings, taken by Manju Mehta, Sambhali Trust’s Project Co-ordinator, although some months the women have needed to attend to the crops in their fields, but the women in all the groups have attended regularly except unfortunately Solyankiyatala, who found it difficult to attend and who haven’t appeared to be committed enough despite repeated encouragement from Mrs Mehta. The Founder/Director of Sambhali Trust, Mr. Govind Singh Rathore, also travels regularly to Setrawa and has a discussion with the women and explains how Sambhali can help them.

Apart from Solyankiyatala, 99% of the women have been increasingly active and confident in wanting to take out loans to purchase goats, cows, flour grinding machines and start small shops and even to buy equipment to help with the construction of their house.  The groups have been very successful in paying their loans and the table below shows how many loans have been given out to all the groups in 2013-14.

Where some members have been unable to get loans, or cannot afford to take out a loan, with the help of Global Giving some donations have also been provided in the form of goats and cows which have been given to selected members of the groups which has also helped some members to pay their electricity bills where they have been unable to do so.  Those members who receive these donations are suggested by the members of each group, who agree that those women are in particularly difficult circumstances and need direct help.

The women are very happy, motivated and empowered by their increased ability to be able to help themselves by starting these small businesses and also many of their children are either attending Sambhali’s Empowerment Centre in Setrawa or are being sponsored through Sambhali to go to school. There are also now 20 children from Setrawa going to school in Jodhpur as part of the Sheerni Educational Programme which has considerably improved the educational standard of these girls as well as providing an optimistic future. The ongoing success and establishment of Sambhali’s Empowerment Centre in Setrawa has helped to be the central core around which many activities are provided by the staff and volunteers that also encompass the these women and their families. A second empowerment centre also opened in June 2014 approx. 5 km from Setrawa in an outlying hamlet which provides literacy and sewing classes to poor uneducated women and children of this rural desert area.  We have a local tutor, Pooja Kanwar who has been trained internally through Sambhali by shadowing our Hindi and Sewing tutors in the Jodhpur Empowerment Centre.

Volunteers within the Setrawa Empowerment Centre, have provided outreach programmes to the families, teaching them about the water cycle and hygiene, whilst we have also had a many groups of volunteers and interns taking a keen interest in the lives of the women in this rural desert area; one group from the U.S who were studying health and nutrition at university spent 10 days looking at the health and nutrition of these women and teaching them the value of nutritious foods, which local foods have various nutrient components in them; as well as purifying water.

 

 

 

Manju Mehta with the Sheerni women
Manju Mehta with the Sheerni women
Sheerni women
Sheerni women
Rural district of Setrawa
Rural district of Setrawa
Pooja Kanwar, tutor at our new Centre
Pooja Kanwar, tutor at our new Centre
Hygiene class in Setrawa
Hygiene class in Setrawa

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