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.
Aug 12, 2013

Sheerni Educational Project Progress Report

Sangeeta, Aasu, Manisha and Pankaj
Sangeeta, Aasu, Manisha and Pankaj

Since June we now have 5 new girls, Priya, Pushpa, Anu, Santosh and Neeru (aged 6-13 years old) in the Boarding Home, making 20 in total, which is now the maximum intake.  Two of the girls already have sisters in the Boarding Home. These girls have also come from the same village area of Setrawa (100 miles west of Jodhpur) and have been to the Setrawa Empowerment Centre, run by Sambhali Trust.

The girls have all settled down together in a good routine and started school again after the holidays on 1 July and attend school between 7.30am and 12.30pm.  They then have lunch back at the boarding home and Nirmala, the housemother, helps them with their homework.  The volunteers go there between 3.30pm-6.30pm Monday to Friday and do a variety of educational activities as well as sports activities on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  A former volunteer, Renate who was one of the first volunteers to establish the Boarding Home with its routine and help the girls adjust from a village life to one living in the town, returned on 16 June to spend 6 weeks at the boarding home to see how the girls have changed and see it further develop. Preparations were done to go back to school – buying school uniform, shoes, books, stationery and the 5 new girls got admission to Galaxy School. One afternoon Nirmela was checking the size of the school uniforms, socks and shoes and who can  inherit something from another girl. Despite the good checking quite a lot of new clothes, shoes, socks etc was needed and Nirmela, Ms.  Manju Mehta and some girls went to the market.  A few girls and the new ones had only 1 or 2 pieces of clothes and some even not any underwear. so additional shopping was necessary.

 All the girls and the staff welcomed the new girls, made posters, drawing many new pictures and everyone was very happy.  All the girls were asked to return to the boarding home from their village on 20 June 2013, 10 days before school re-opened.  The boarding home was painted in the vacation and they bought a new table to study on and eat on and everyone was very happy with the new changes.  New sets of books were bought for the girls, covers were made for all the books and notebooks. Renate felt that the children’s manners (eg eating habits, how to greet guests and how to look after their own possessions), could be further improved and so devised a small session where they would talk about manners in different scenarios before and after dinner.

 The volunteers help the girls with reading English. Out of the 20 girls the two volunteers pair up 10 of the weak and stronger girls and work in pairs to teach them;  Nirmala, teaches the others. Their English reading has really improved over the last few weeks so that the older girls can now read books.  They have been given sessions on Hygiene and brushing their teeth and their homework is more disciplined now.  For tooth brushing and hand washing the girls had learned their exercises very well. Only on a couple of evenings did they need to be reminded about tooth brushing - this is done now nearly automatically. In terms of hand-washing before meals it was a very short one just rinsing with water - but  we now do ‘Healthy hand washing‘ as learnt in the hospital . An inofficial competition who produced the most foam or the biggest bubble is always a fun exercise even requested by the girls.  The older girls are taking on more responsibility and 5 of them have been allocated as monitors for daily duties in the boarding home and are well respected by the younger girls.

 At school they learn Social Studies, Science, Sanskrit, Hindi, English and Maths and a couple of times a week the volunteers take them out to the park to play team games which is a lot of fun!   Pooja, one of the girls who has a disability (scoliosis of the spine) takes her books with her to the park instead of playing games, testimony to the 82% she got in her exams in April. Another 4 girls also do the same thing and enjoy sitting in the park reading their books and talking together.  Every month the girls get weighed and measured to show how much weight/height they have gained. 

A couple of volunteers have done a ‘Lice workshop’ and gave a demonstration how to wash their hair, how to avoid lice and how to treat the condition.  They also have a session on Fridays called ‘Praise Time’ where the girls take it in turns to say something about one of the other girls in the boarding home and praise something  that they have done that particular week. 

At the end of May one of the girls was operated on for an eardrum problem and so was taken to a hospital clinic in Jodhpur for the operation.  There was a visit by the Child Welfare Committee and the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment on 29 June, to allow Sambhali Trust be granted a certificate under the Juvenile Justice Act.

In July we successfully finished our first ever workshop on "Good Touch and Bad Touch" for the girls at the Boarding Home; it is a programme regarding the Education and Awareness of Child Abuse.  Since then Sambhali Trust has held a one-day conference which brought professional people from Health, Education and Government Departments to discuss the issue and Sambhali would like to continue this by developing an Outreach programme in Jodhpur.  We are thankful to Arnica and Sarah and all the other volunteers who have put efforts in putting together this very sensitive issue.

In Class at Galaxy School
In Class at Galaxy School
Lolita teaching the other girls
Lolita teaching the other girls
Arnica, volunteer with girls in the Boarding Home
Arnica, volunteer with girls in the Boarding Home
Sports in the park
Sports in the park
Child Welfare Committee visiting the Boarding Home
Child Welfare Committee visiting the Boarding Home
May 14, 2013

Sheerni Educational Project Annual Progress Report

Sajiyo Devi Sheerni SHG member
Sajiyo Devi Sheerni SHG member

Sheerni Educational Project Annual Report (attached)

Sheerni Self-Help Group Project

We would like to tell you a story of two of the women of the project.

Sajiyo Devi

“I am from Belwa, near to Balesar, 40 minutes from Setrawa. When I was very young, my father died, and my mother had to go door to door to get food for us. I got married when I was 15 years old and moved to Setrawa. My husband was 25 years old. He was working in a stone mine.

Now, I have 5 daughters and 2 sons. Now I am a widow – my husband died one and a half years ago. I have 4 children still in the house – 2 daughters are married and one, Asu, is at the boarding school in Jodhpur (Sheerni Educational Programme).

 Three of my daughters got married at one time to save money, but one is too young to move in with her husband (she’s 14), so she continues to live with me until she is old enough. When my husband died, I got 30,000 rupees from the government – I used this money to marry my daughters and for my husband’s traditional twelve days of mourning.

 Dau Devi told me about Sambhali 3 years ago and made me want to join. Before Sambhali, if I needed money, I had to ask my Rajput neighbours for smaller sums. It is better now that I can come to get this money from Sambhali.  On my first loan from Sambhali, I took 6,000 rupees for two goats. Now I have four goats, they are providing my family with lots of milk, and later I will sell the two kid goats for money.

My second loan was 2,000 rupees. I tried to start a business selling vegetables door to door, but that wasn’t successful, so I stopped it. It was summer, and the vegetables were rotting. The third time, Sambhali donated one flour grinding machine to me.

Two of my sons and 1 daughter are sponsored to go to private schools in Setrawa.

 Trying to choose what is the best thing that Sambhali has given me is very difficult; for me the best thing of all is Sambhali.  I like the weekly meetings because if I have any stress or problems I can tell all the ladies in my group, if I need money I can tell the President of the self-help group.

Now I am only one woman and I am doing housework, flour-grinding, and sometimes stone work to support my family.  My future plans are to make a small shop attached to my house for my flour- machine and other goods.“

Indra Devi

 My name is Indra Devi. I am 40 years old. I was married at 15. When my husband and I were first married, he wasn’t working, but then he bought a big stone mine. For a time, we had money. I have two daughters, one married and living in Chaba, one and a half hours away.  Five and a half years ago, my husband died in a car accident with 25 other people. The driver was drinking alcohol. The car was full of the men of 4 surrounding houses – all the men in my family, my brothers-in-law and their cousins also died in this car.  So then we were 4 houses of only women, who couldn’t do anything. I had to sell the stone mine to help support us.

Then I learned about Sambhali. I had no other ideas of what to do and Govind said he would help us, so I joined the group. I learned about it 3 years ago from a friend. I just started with 50 rupees a month, then I took a loan for 9,500 rupees and I bought a cow. I started to sell the milk from the cow and help my family a little bit. One of the other women in my family now has a flour-grinding machine, and one of my grand-daughters is sponsored by Sambhali to go to private school in Setrawa. Another woman in my family wants to take a loan for a sewing machine.

I’m the older person in my family, so all the responsibility is on me. Seven kids from the family are living with me – kids of the parents who died in the car crash. Now I am not feeling good every day and I wonder, if I die, who will take care of these children? There is still a lot of stress in my life.

Two other women in my family are enrolled in the Narega scheme with the government to work in construction, but I can’t do this work because I am too old.  For my next loan, I’d like to start a small shop. We are very far from the market here so all my neighbours and people would buy from here – it would be a good business. I hope to take this loan in the future.

Indra Devi
Indra Devi

Attachments:
Jan 19, 2013

We've achieved our goal...!

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

We are very happy to announce that we have reached our goal of raising 10,000US$ for our Project: “Empowering Underprivileged Women and Girls in India”.

It has just been over 2 years since we posted this project on the Global Giving website and with the very generous support from all of you who have contributed to giving the women in our Jodhpur Empowerment Centre the opportunity for a better way of life, we have reached our original goals for this project.

We have successfully been able to maintain the Centre and give 60 women over the course of 2 years tuition in sewing and embroidery skills as well as tuition in reading and writing Hindi and English conversation classes.  We have had the professional help of 2 permanent tutors, as well as many foreign volunteers who help with English conversation classes.  Every week we require raw materials for the sewing classes and notebooks and stationery for the tuition classes.  We have been able to provide every girl who successfully completes the course with a sewing machine that they can use at home.  This means that they can make clothes for themselves, their family and also can potentially earn a living by making clothes for people in their community.

We have managed to purchase a van, which was one of our goals.  This now helps with transportation of the women and girls from their homes to their respective Empowerment Centres, throughout Sambhali Trust.  This is a real benefit as before we needed to rely on the local rickshaws, which proved very costly. Occasionally we are able to take the girls on visits to the local radio station, information centres, the local park for an annual picnic and we also use it for the transportation of staff and volunteers.  We have also been able to hold health camps, employ the professional expertise of counsellors, dance choreographers, and the local government officers to talk on women’s rights and provide advice where to seek help in Jodhpur, as well as instruction classes on self-defence.

Sambhali is not only about learning vocational skills but developing the self-esteem and knowledge of these women and girls, who have been deprived of a good education and know little apart from the household chores that they are required to do on a daily basis.  Without the ability to have labour-saving appliances, all the work needs to be done by hand from the cooking, cleaning, washing for the whole family.  By giving these girls the time and space  to express themselves, developing their personality through different workshops that have been held on health, nutrition, drama, photography, dance, how to use a pc, send an email etc., geography, women’s rights – all these add to their development, which in turn helps them continue in life with a different frame of mind; one that isn’t  just expecting to live the same life as their mother, with girls secondary to boys, accepting verbal abuse from boys because of their gender and their caste.  We hope that we are helping these girls to realise that they have a lot more to offer in life and at the very least the chance to have a better marriage, to perhaps a boy who is more educated and therefore who is able  to have a more equal relationship with his wife and they are able to treat their own children whether boys or girls in the same way. 

Sambhali Trust now incorporates 11 projects in total and we are constantly supporting more and more women and children in both Jodhpur and in the village area of Setrawa 100km away.  We have been able to help educate girls in our Scholarship project through direct sponsorship on an annual basis to go to a good private school, (we have 81 children in school in total) and our Self-Help Group Project in Setrawa, is helping presently 96 women where they are able to start up their own small businesses, such as buying a goat or cow to sell the milk, buying a flour-grinding machine, or starting a small shop.  Both these projects have been running for the last 6 and 3 years respectively and are proving very successful.  As Sambhali has become more well-known in the Jodhpur area we have been approached by individuals to help them fight a divorce case and have applied for legal aid through Sambhali as well as a few individuals such as a woman called Dakhu from the Setrawa area, who was in need of acute psychiatric medication due to suffering (two) miscarriages and has suffered with post-natal psychosis.  We wouldn’t be able to help these women if it wasn’t for the generosity of so many people.  Their families would be suffering as to how to care for them with no help from the government and for many women it has given them hope and financial support in a time of great need. 

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us reach out to these women and girls, and giving them hope for a better life.  Sambhali Trust has been running for 6 years now in total and the number of projects has grown to include 4 Empowerment Centres, 2 Self-Help Group Programmes, Shelter Home, Educational Project, the Graduates’ Sewing Centre, Sambhali Boutique and a Scholarship Programme.  To help continue our work with all these projects and helping individual women in urban and rural areas, we will post another project on the Global Giving website to incorporate the different needs that have arisen.

In a time when India is fighting for the justice of women, then you can be assured that your generosity has served to develop these women and girls into stronger and more assertive women of the future....

Reshma sewing curtains
Reshma sewing curtains
Block-printed scarves drying in the sun
Block-printed scarves drying in the sun
Cushion-covers
Cushion-covers
Our latest product
Our latest product
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