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...
May 7, 2014

Success Story of Malpur Village... Thank You

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Today I would like to share with you the story of Malpur village where a veterinary hospital was constructed with the help of our village development committee.

The construction of Malpur’s Veterinary hospital:

In Malpur village of Jhadol block, a building for veterinary hospital was approved with the objective of becoming central cattle treatment point for other 4 neighboring villages. The problem started when the Panchayat (Village government body), Sarpanch (Head of the village) and Secretary for these 5 villages took the decision to build the veterinary hospital in Chandwas village instead of in Malpur because of political reasons, as the people were supporters of a different political party. Despite the opposition of the people in Malpur, the veterinary hospital building started to be constructed in Chandwas.

This matter was raised initially at GVC (Village Development Committee) level and was taken to the village meeting. The GVC members along with the villagers went to the panchayat and government officials and placed a complaint application, however, no action was taken and negligence persisted. The GVC and its secretary Nanalal decided to go to the District Collector, to stop the construction work in Chandwas village. After that the panchayat was made liable to pay the amount of the total costs of the construction undertaken so far.

The constant efforts of the GVC in mobilizing the people of the whole village and providing guidance and support to the people of Malpur village contributed ultimately, to have the veterinary hospital being constructed in the right place, in their village. The GVC played a pivotal role in mobilizing the people of Malpur village to fight for their right, for the construction of the veterinary hospital in their village.

In Malpur, the GVC was formed 10 years ago and numerous projects were conducted to improve the village conditions. The GVK (Village Development Fund) has been used for different purposes, such as the construction of a community centre for the villagers, the opening of a Non-formal Education centre (NFE) for children between 6-14 years old, the deepening of water well for the villagers, the supply of good quality seeds, tree plantations (such as goose berries) in the village which helped to generate income between Rs. 40,000-45,000 on a yearly basis. The GVC has also been instrumental in raising the awareness of people on the different government schemes such as widow pension, CM Indira Awas Yojana and MNREGA labour work.

Due to the efforts of the GVC, the village community has become stronger in the last decade and this has overall, enhanced the unity and cooperation among villagers, which now are also more aware of their rights and duties.

Thank you for your support.

Regards

Atul Lekhra

Links:

May 1, 2014

Success Story of a Confident Woman

Confident Nirmala
Confident Nirmala

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Shishvi is a small village located in Girwa block of Udaipur City, Rajasthan. A five minutes’ walk into the village and you will meet a confident woman running a small shop. Nirmala is the first female in the village to run a shop.

As expected the journey was not easy.  Before breaking the societal barriers, she had her family to fight to.

“My husband is into maintenance work. We never had enough money and that created trouble and eventually fights.” Nirmala has three kids- two girls and one boy. Her family was not very supportive.

But Nirmala was determined. She started this shop in 2006. It has been 7 years and she has been increasing her business day by day. She had no education and no money when she thought of opening this shop. She just knew stitching clothes but did not have a sewing machine.

Seva Mandir runs a women’s Self-Help Group in Shishvi where women voluntarily contribute whatever amount they can and mutually agree to save it in their common fund from which small loans can be given to any of their members to meet emergent credit needs. This is exactly what Nirmala was looking for. She happily joined the group, discussed her problem and took a loan of Rs. 10,000. She bought a sewing machine and some cloth from it.

Nirmala then started selling ready-made clothes in Shishvi. This grabbed local women’s attention since this was the only shop with ready-made clothes. Initially she used to sell covertly because the ‘heads’ of the village were against it! But Nirmala stood strong and so did other women.

“All the women here supported and encouraged me. They kept coming to my shop and asked me to be strong as I was doing a good work.”

She returned the first loan in around two years. She then took the second loan of Rs 20,000 from Union bank. She bought saris, more clothes and got more profit. She returned the second loan in 20 months.

After this 18 women took loan together of Rs 25,000 from ZilaUdyog Kendra. In between Nirmala kept taking financial help from Seva Mandir’s self-help group.

Currently there are three shops in Shishvi run by women.

Nirmala earns Rs. 1000 per day from which she keeps Rs. 500 and uses Rs. 500 in buying clothes or other commodities for shop.  She makes more than Rs. 1000 in festive season. “I earned Rs. 4000 in Rakhi festival” says Nirmala.

When she started earning respectable money, Nirmala’s family also began to accept her running the shop. They became friendly and encouraged her. “My husband supports me in my work now. In fact he attached some equipment to my sewing machine so that it can run on electricity. Earlier I used to run it manually,” says Nirmala showing her possession-sewing machine.

Nirmala adds confidently that there house was a mud house before. She helped her husband financially in turning it into a cement house. She also participates in decision-making as well.

She is now working with Seva Mandir on one of the projects where she will teach local girls stitching and using sewing machine.

Thank you for your help and support in changing the lives of so many women.

Regards

Atul Lekhra

Links:

Apr 22, 2014

Dal Mill: New Avenues, New Experiments

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Here are some recent developments from the project which you are supporting:-

The dal mill started in 2008. It’s been almost 6 years since its genesis. Many developments in the dal mill have taken place over the year. Now is the time to undertake new experiments. The popularity of Nala bachat Samiti’s (Nala Saving Society) tuar dal has crossed inter-state and we have received an order of 1500 Kgs of tuar dal (lentil) from Gujarat. The tuar dal was re-tested for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. A sample was sent to QPS Laboratories in Hyderabad and it passed the test with flying colors. No trace of chemical pesticides or fertilizers was found in the sample which reinforces the quality of the dal which it boasts of. For the first time, the urad dal of the dal mill will be distributed to beneficiaries of immunization camps run by Seva Mandir. The dal mill was visited for the second time by Shiho, a client from Japan. She was so impressed with the quality management of the dal mill that she immediately placed an order for 110Kgs of moong dal. This is a matter of pride for the members of Nala Bachat Samiti who are poor farmers, living in the remote, tribal village of Kotra. For the first time, Nala Bachat Samiti will be procuring and processing chana dal. The best part about this dal is that, it is not only high in nutritive values but also fetches good price in the market. It’s by-products are also valuable in the form of raw materials for sweets and snacks and high quality cattle feed.

The dal mill has reached scale to pursue its long term vision. This is exactly why procedures are set in motion to transform the dal mill into a produce company. Members from Nala Bachat Samiti have been selected and trained to work as promoters and directors of the new entity. A comprehensive study is under way to expand the market both for procurement and sale of dal. This new producer company will have capital at its disposal which will enable it to take more risk and explore untapped markets. 

Thank you so much for your continuous support to this project.

Regards

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

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