Seva Mandir

Seva Mandir's mission is to make real the idea of society consisting of free and equal citizens who are able to come together and solve the problems that affect them in their particular contexts. The commitment is to work for a paradigm of development and governance that is democratic and polyarchic. Seva Mandir seeks to institutionalise the idea that development and governance is not only to be left to the State and its formal bodies like the legislature and the bureaucracy, but that citizens and their associations should engage separately and jointly with the State. The mission briefly, is to construct the conditions in which citizens of plural backgrounds and perspectives can come togethe...
Sep 5, 2014

The Impact of Seva Mandir's Education Programs

Khuma teaching his students at the Learning Camp
Khuma teaching his students at the Learning Camp

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

In 2000, Seva Mandir launched its first Residential Learning Camp (also known as Camp) at the Kaya Training Facility, to give hundreds of out-of-school children a chance to learn and get a foothold into the mainstream education system. Many of these children are unable to go to school because they work as migrant laborers or they tend to their family farms. They come from some of the most impoverished and rural tribal communities in India. In our work area, there are many economic incentives that discourage children from enrolling in schools. The purpose of Seva Mandir’s education program is to give children access to a good quality education while also strengthening the value of education in the communities we work in.

Eight-year old Khuma was among the first students at the Camp in 2000. “While coming through the Training Centre of Seva Mandir gate for the first time I felt nervous. I wasn’t sure why I was here”, he recalled.  He remembered how he overcame his initial anxiety at the 25-day camp and eventually made friends with children from other villages.

Nobody could have guessed that 13 years later Khuma would return to this center as a teacher at the Camp. He began his schooling at a Seva Mandir non-formal education center in 1998. He was then recruited to enroll in the first Camp at Kaya, which he now remembers fondly. After the camp, Khuma enrolled in a nearby government school, but maintained his connection with Seva Mandir by becoming active in the local Youth Resource Center.

As the first person in his family to receive an education, his commitment never wavered. In an area where most children never make it through primary school, Khuma, the son of a poor farmer, graduated from secondary school in 2011. He was then recruited to work at a shop in Mumbai, but feeling dissatisfied with the pace and strain of urban living, he left after two months to pursue a college education and work towards a better future.

Soon after returning from Mumbai, Khuma was approached by a Seva Mandir zone worker who asked him if he was interested in working as a teacher for Seva Mandir. When we asked him about why he took the offer he said, “I benefited a lot from Seva Mandir, I have taken [their] help every time in my life. I will never turn down any job from Seva Mandir”.

His eyes swelled then swelled with pride, “I got offers from other NGOs, but I declined them. I will only work for Seva Mandir”, he said.

At the Camp, Khuma is quite the hero. He laughed when he recounted the disbelief and astonishment when, on the first day of the camp, he revealed to all the children that he is a former Camp student himself. To these new first-generation learners, he serves as a living role model who can relate to these students better than anyone.

Khuma’s story is an example for the 10,000 first gener­ation students in our schools, and speaks to the deeper change we are nurturing across 700 villages, including a demand for quality education and a commitment to public service.

Once again thank you so much for your continuous support to our program.

Regards

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

Sep 5, 2014

Sharing with You some....... Thank You

Dear Friends,

Today I thought of sharing with you some data and information about our work area: 

  • Infant mortality in Rajasthan is 57/1000 live births
  • Over 70% of children and 60% of women are malnourished
  • Only a third of all of children have been fully immunized
  • Over 50% of households drink from unprotected sources
  • Around 75% of rural households have no toilet
  • Our health program supports some 9,000 women and children in 150 vil­lages
  • Child immunization increased from 35% to 60%
  • 16,000 people assured of access to clean water
  • Over 3,000 people assured of access to toilets
  • More than 300 Traditional Birth Attendants of Seva Mandir counsel women on the benefits of institutional deliveries but are also trained to perform home deliveries. They handle over 4,000 deliveries a year with infant mortality significantly lower than the state average.
  • Seva Mandir offers obstetric care insurance in partnership with hospitals to provide women with access to checkups, curative medication and delivery services.
  • Seva Mandir trains Bal­sakhis, women who provide monitoring and care for newborns by counseling mothers on breastfeeding, nutrition, birth registration and the availability of government support in cases of severe malnourishment.
  • Seva Mandir provides immunization and monitors malnutrition in special camps and Balwadis (Pre Schools). Basic medicines and treatment are also provided for common childhood ailments.

Thank you so much for your continuous support to our program.

Regards

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

Aug 5, 2014

Initiative against corruption: Kaucha

Dear Friends,

Here is a story of the initiative of village development committee against corruption in Kaucha village:

Kaucha is situated in the Kotra block. Pastureland work is ongoing in Kaucha under MGNREGA (a government scheme). Names of 22 laborers—12 women and 10 men—were enlisted in the muster rolls for pit digging activity. After completion of the fortnight the measurement was taken by the engineer but the wage rate came to only Rs. 75 per day, which is much less than the stipulated minimum wage. Each laborer’s payment came to Rs. 750. The postmaster of the local post office was authorized to pay the laborers their wage. He gave each laborer Rs. 700 and kept Rs. 50 for himself as his own commission. The postmaster had no right taking a Rs. 50 commission from each laborer’s wage.

When the GVC (Village Development Committee) heard of the matter, they approached Seva Mandir’s Zonal Worker. Together with the Zonal Worker, the GVC leaders approached the postmaster who in the beginning denied having siphoned off Rs. 50 from each labor. Subsequently, the Zonal worker as well as the GVC leaders informed the post master that they would have to take up with matter to higher officials. It was in this instance that the postmaster, perhaps out of fear as well as guilt, owned up to his mistake and returned Rs. 50 to each of the laborers. The laborers were very thankful to the GVC and Seva Mandir and as a token of their gratitude and as way to reinforce their faith in the institution, decided to contribute Rs. 50 to their Village Development Fund.

Thank you so much friends for your continuous support to this program.

Regards

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

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