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.
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
Dec 17, 2012

Jodhpur Empowerment Centre Progress Report

Learning embroidery
Learning embroidery

In our Jodhpur Empowerment Centre we now have 28 students aged between 12 and 40 years old.  About 10 students have recently joined Sambhali from the local communities in Jodhpur.  Dilkush the English teacher is now helped by up to 4 volunteers at one time, so that they are able to divide the class up into 3 groups of different abilities.  The Advanced group are now able to speak English quite well and introduce themselves.  They are able to say a little about who they are and what they have been learning whilst coming to Sambhali.  Dilkush has used role-play in some of the groups, where they have a conversation with a doctor/shopkeeper and they are able to practise their bargaining skills! They have worked on English grammar including comparisons – eg good, better, best. The new students at the Centre cannot write nor hold a pencil, so the tutor has spent a lot of time taking it very slowly and teaching them one letter of the alphabet per day.

One volunteer was interested in teaching some of the girls computer skills and so over the period of 2 months that she was here, Claudia taught 6 girls how to start the PC from scratch, search on the Internet, obtain an email ID, send mail and open Word sheets and type basic English on the keyboard.   The girls have been very enthusiastic to learn this and now can send emails back to the previous volunteers!   

Eight of the girls have now been attending the course for at least one year and so they took it upon themselves to apply for government jobs at the Municipality of Jodhpur.  Sambhali was helping them make their applications and approach the right people. They met the Honorable Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Respected Mayor and also helped very much by the Vice Mayor. We wait to hear with fingers crossed, the outcome..

In the Arts and Crafts sessions the new students are starting to compile a file of embroidery stitches and all the girls have been making various items influenced by the workshops that the volunteers have been taking.  They have learnt knitting, so have made teddy bears, caps and water bottle holders.  A couple of them are learning to knit sweaters.  They have made very pretty embroidered samplers and have been preparing some macramé bracelets which are for a potential order from Canada.

A couple of the volunteers in the last few months have done some theatre workshops with the girls and put on  a wonderful shadow theatre performance which had a theme on the role of newly married women in the household. They have since performed this with some choreographed dance at 3 venues in and around Jodhpur.  Theatre has really helped to develop the girls’ self-esteem and confidence to be themselves and realise their own abilities.   The volunteers also have given a series of team-building workshops which incorporated trust exercises and speaking in front of the group and also camera workshops.

A couple of parent/teachers meetings have been held; one where a psychologist attended who talked to the parents about the various issues that had cropped up about teenage girls wanting to take their own decisions about who they wanted to marry.  The psychologist was able to talk them through the difficulties they were having and how to discuss this with their daughters.

Sambhali Trust also helps individuals in need.  We received a call from a friend working in the media about a girl roaming around by herself at the railway station in Jodhpur and so we went to find her a refuge. We found out that she was brought to Jodhpur by a “Job Placement agency based in Delhi” for being a domestic help from Jharkhand in East India.  She was not treated well at this house she worked for, and after a month decided to run away from there.  With the help of the Child Welfare Committee we helped her to get to the Shelter Home in the care of the Social Justice and Empowerment Department.

Computer Class
Computer Class
Volunteer teaching
Volunteer teaching
Sanju
Sanju's sampler
Greeeting cards
Greeeting cards
Shadow theatre performance
Shadow theatre performance
Savita
Savita
Camera workshop
Camera workshop
Sep 17, 2012

Giving the village children a new start in life..

The Sambhali Sheerni Educational Programme was started in July 2012 to help provide 15 girls from the village of Setrawa (100km to the west of Jodhpur) and outlying areas with the chance of a good education in Jodhpur. Some of these girls had been attending our Empowerment Centre in the village and now had the opportunity to go to a good private school and receive bed and board with a local family. 

Virendra and his wife Nirmala, put in a lot of work and preparation to make these girls feel at home. They installed bunk beds in the girls’ room and together with six volunteers from Sambhali the girls gradually established a routine in the morning to get washed and dressed and have breakfast.  Some  health and dental checks were done, their weight recorded and arm measurements taken, because these girls were mostly malnourished and we hope that after some time in their new home, the girls will gradually gain weight by having the nutritious meals that Nirmala is cooking for them.  The plan is to document these measurements each month so that we can do a follow up and monitor the improvements. 

 As we were not able to get rid of the lice of the girls with normal lice shampoo and some of the girls had some skin rashes  we went to see a dermatologist.  Two girls with a specific skin disease got a prescription, a profound lice and worm treatment was started and the skin rashes were being taken care of with medicine. Two of the girls complained about bad vision especially in bad light. The physician suspected nightblindness because of Vitamin A deficiency and prescribed medication and all the girls started a multivitamin/iron supplement medication once the worm treatment was finished. We are sure that all signs of  undernourishment will stop after a few months of a good diet- signs like very low weight, skin and vision problems, growth of thin hair on arms and  legs (symptoms that are in the Western world are only seen in anorexic or bulimic girls). We also all paid a visit to the Shared Vision Centre in Jodhpur which assesses eyesight and the need for wearing glasses. Five girls were provided with glasses.

It took a few days to establish new methods of hygiene and good eating habits; the volunteers slept at the boarding house overnight to help with any initial homesickness and helping early in the morning to establish a routine; preparing new clothes to wear for home and school, books, backpacks and food to take to school.   

The 15 girls ranging in age from 7-12 years now attend Galaxy Sr Secondary School in Jodhpur which is 5 mins walk away from their house.  Ten days after moving from their rural way of life to living in Jodhpur, they started to attend school.  Gradually the girls are changing from being reserved and shy to joining in group activities, smiling and showing how much their self-confidence is growing.  School is from 7.30am-12.30pm and after that 2 volunteers go 6 days a week, from 3.30-6.00pm to help them with their homework and do some creative and fun activities with them.

We are happy that this project has started so well, after some initial problems at the beginning and now we hope that we can continue to fund this programme for at least the next five years, so that the girls can receive a good education and give them the best possible start in life to help themselves and in turn their families.

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