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 20, 2010

3351 new children in schools - with your support

intently reading...
intently reading...

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

With this letter, I am very happy to share with you some news and updates about the program you have been supporting. As you may be aware, by January 2010 ‘Send a child to school in India’ was fully funded by Global Giving. This project first appeared on Global Giving in November 2007 and since then we have received a lot of support for it from people like you. So many, many thanks for your generous support.

In three years we have generated a total of approximately Rs. 4,950,065 ($110,001 or £70,715) from donors through Global Giving (USA & UK) for the NFE (Non Formal Education) program. Every one of us here is truly grateful to all your support over the past three years and we hope to receive your continued help for this project in the years to come. Non Formal Education Centers or Shiksha Kendra (SK) are an ongoing initiative which reaches around 6,000 school children (6-14 years of age) in the remote and tribal areas of Southern Rajasthan, India, every year.

Enclosed with this letter is a detailed report to share what we have been able to do with the funds received from you, and other donors, in this program. Even though the project went live in November 2007 on Global Giving, the report enclosed provides you with the details from April 2007 to March 2010, in line with our financial year structure. I would like to present a brief summary of the report for those who would like to refer the more detailed report at their leisure.

Some figures at a glance – 1. By the end of March 2010, we had 201 NFE centers with 219 instructors and 5,612 children enrolled. 2. We have also seen an encouraging increase in women instructors (from 7 to 16 in the 2007 – 2010 review period). 3. From April 2007 to March 2010, we saw about 3351 new children enrolled across all the 201 NFEs/SKs. 4. In past 3 years a total of 2460 students have graduated to government schools. 5. The retention level of NFEs/SKs graduates to the Government Schools is as high as 84%.

The situation of schooling -

In all the areas where Seva Mandir works, children have little access to quality education. The conditions of schooling in tribal areas is often one of severe neglect, with high rates of teacher absenteeism, use of poor and old pedagogical methods, lack of learning materials, inadequate infrastructure, and above all, an apathetic atmosphere. Parents and communities in general are not able to get the government to address these issues. Their own poverty creates pressures to put every available hand to work. The supply and demand inadequacies compound each other and reduce the likelihood of a child going to or staying in a school. Often many children migrate either daily or seasonally for work.

Why NFEs/SKs -

In these circumstances, Seva Mandir-run NFEs/SKs aim to ensure quality education in remote rural areas to children who are out of school. These SKs are single teacher/instructor schools with creative and joyful classroom environments where studying is more than ‘reading and remembering’. Most of these instructors have studied only up to class 8 or 9. Therefore, a number of trainings and meetings are organized by Seva Mandir on a regular basis for them to enhance their capacities and to also boost their motivation levels. Investments in teachers’ capacities-

The trainings and meetings are also very important because the NFE/SK classroom is constituted by children of various age groups (between 6-14 years) and learning levels. Therefore the instructor must know how to engage all children with their relative studies meaningfully. The instructors also learn organizing various activities and using different study materials to make learning for children enjoyable. The enclosed report will give you an in-depth description of the kinds of trainings has been imparted to these instructors. The enclosed report also contains numerous stories and anecdotes about the NFEs/SKs from the field.

English as the new subject –

There has been also a constant demand from the community and the teacher to teach English at the NFE/SK. Therefore we did a pilot in October 2007 to initiate the English Language Teaching (ELT). The results have been encouraging so far. The children and the teachers are quite excited about learning a new language. About 25 NFEs/SKs are teaching English to their students.

The community’s involvement –

The report also recounts incidences in which the local community has participated actively to ensure education for their children in the areas where a large number of children were out of school. In many cases the communities are supporting these NFEs/SKs financially or encouraging education by making contributions in kind. The parents pay a small token fee of Rs. 5 per month for their children attending the NFEs/SKs. In most cases, the community buys uniforms for their children attending NFEs/SKs with the fee collected every year. It is a very good ‘community work’ to encourage children’s education and show fraternity. A study conducted showed that most parents prefer paying the fee in one or two installments every year and are willing to pay Rs. 100 every year. Therefore, from now on the parents will be requested to pay their children’s fee in one or two installments.

It is also very encouraging to observe that the parent-teacher meetings have also become quite frequent, helping to build a good relationship between the two. We learnt that most parents are happy to attend these meetings and learn about their children’s progress. At times, parents would stop by at the centre to see how and what the instructor was teaching. The report enclosed gives stories of some emotional parents, delighted with their children’s desire to study. Experiencing quality education and its impact-

It is also very encouraging to observe that these NFEs/SKs have been able to provide an experience to the local communities of quality education and a guarantee to parents that their children are learning how to read and write Such assurances have led some of these communities to demand quality education from the Government. Moreover, in many cases the communities have attempted to work with the existing system to improve the situation.

Overall, these NFEs/SKs are providing a platform for mutual learning for both the teacher and the students. The presence of these centers also motivates the community to think about the issue of ‘quality education’ and its role in ensuring it is available to all children. Those children who graduate from these centers outperform others in the government schools, due to the deep educational foundations they have gained from the NFEs/SKs, rooted in curiosity and a desire to learn, not mindless repetition. They have better comprehension skills, socialize better and are able to explore ideas and think independently.

The results of a good education are well known to us. However, what is really remarkable about this program is the relationships forged because of the program: the relationship between the teacher and his/her children; the relationship between the child and his/her parents; the relationship of the community as a whole with the instructor; the relationship of one section/caste of the community with the other section/caste and the relationship of the parents with the teacher. The report enclosed gives a detailed account of the impact the NFEs/SKs have had on various sections of society.

All of this has been possible because of the regular support and deep faith you and our other friends have put in us for all these years. The project is not just about ensuring education - together we have been able to invest in transforming thousands of lives not only in the rural areas of Southern Rajasthan. The program will continue to reach out to thousands of children and hundreds of teachers every year. We hope to connect you with many of these individuals every year with your continuing support to this program.

A very big thank you from all of us at Seva Mandir. We hope to keep building on this foundation and continue to transform lives and expand the dialogue around the issue of education. It would be an absolute pleasure for us should you ever visit us.

Many many thanks once again to all of you. We are very fortunate to have you with us on this important journey.

With warm regards,

Deepti

Links:


Attachments:
May 20, 2010

3743 children were immunized -our journey with you

two drops of polio vaccine
two drops of polio vaccine

Dear Friends,

It gives me immense pleasure to write this letter to you. The immunization program of Seva Mandir was posted on Global Giving on November 2007 and since then it has received incredible support from all of you. A total of 3743 children and 3163 expecting mothers have been immunized in past three years with the support received from you and other friends. (Please see the enclosed report for more details).

Very big thanks to all of you for helping rural tribal children and their expecting mothers.

Seva Mandir’s model of immunization makes sure that expecting mothers and young infants/children can come to the immunization camp on a fixed date and time at a location in the village which is feasible to all. We hold 68 mobile camps every month at 68 locations. The children and mothers get enrolled for immunization and are provided with an immunization card. The village birth attendants (supported and trained by Seva Mandir) notify the mothers about the immunization camp a day prior and remind them to go for the shots. The birth attendant also spreads awareness about the significance of immunization, since she is from the village and helps women with deliveries; she has good connections with all the mothers.

The mothers receive one kilo of Pulse upon their child receiving each shot. The pulse is a good source of protein for the good health of children and for lactating mothers. In addition, it also provides the mother (attending the immunization camp) an incentive of having missed a significant part of her work-day. When a child completes the entire course of vaccination (which means receiving shots for Tuberculosis, Pertusis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio and Measles) the mother is given with a dinner set (a plate, a spoon, a bowl and a cup). The mother is required to bring the immunization card every time the child/she receives a shot. The expecting mothers receive two shots for tetanus.

As we went along with these camps we realized that a lot of times mothers and children experience various illnesses and given that during the immunization camps, they could access basic health services, we added facilities of providing some treatment and referrals for childhood illnesses. Therefore the team of immunization received trainings and now they treat common, but often deadly, diseases including diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis, scabies, malnutrition, and ear and eye infections.

Our association with you, all these years, we have been able to raise a total of $ 51,611 for immunization program to date. A detailed report about how the model evolved and what impact it is making – is presented in the enclosed report. Please do have a look and let us know what you think.

Many thanks for your continuing support. Immunization is an ongoing program and we have integrated various significant aspects in our model to improve the overall impact. It would have not been possible for us to do if you were not with us. We hope to receive your regular support for this program and very much wish to have you with us someday here to show you the program you are supporting.

Thank you once again from all of us here. We look forward to working with you in the years to come. Please do write to us if you have any queries.

With warm regards,

Deepti

A brief story is give below -

Jaruli devi stays in the remote Kaucha village of Kotra block. Her village is very far from the district health center and the local health facilities have much higher than normal rates of worker absenteeism, making access to health care very challenging. Jaruli was in her third pregnancy. In her prior pregnancies, she never got TT immunization, as the government immunization services were not regular in the village. Both the two deliveries were institutional deliveries, but the babies did not survive. During her third pregnancy, she got her antenatal check ups and both the TT shots as Seva Mandir had started an immunization camp in her village. The GNM (General Nurse Midwife) counseled her on nutrition and care during pregnancy, and also encouraged her to take iron folic acid (IFA) tablets, as she was anemic. The GNM continued to check up on her health each month when she visited the village for camp. Jaruli had a safe delivery and, this time, her child survived.

(The report enclosed is compiled by Doddie from the US)


Attachments:
Jan 4, 2010

Progress Report and Wishing You Happy New Year

January 1, 2010

Dear friends,

New Year Greetings from Seva Mandir!

We hope this year brings you all the happiness, peace and prosperity to you. We also hope that we together help reduce the sufferings of our planet this year.

We would like to thank you for all your support that you extended at various points of time to each of our programs. The progress we have been able to make would have not been possible without your support.

A quick update about our fellowship program –

There were 19 fellows selected but 2 of them withdrew from the program because of personal reasons. Now we have about 17 fellows. In May this year a group of 6 students from Nourish International, USA made a documentary on ‘Jati Panchayat’ (caste council) issues in Badgaon Block, which is one of the themes a couple of fellows are working on. A review meeting was held in October along with regular monthly meetings where fellows share their work with mentors and other staff members.

In November on 26th and 27th a two day training on ‘Report and Case Study Writing’ for the fellows was organized. A total of 15 fellows and 8 mentors attended the same.

Since the fellows lack good writing skills; this training was very useful for them. The sessions focused on best practices of report and case study writing. The session was followed by a group exercise. The fellows also received instructions for punctuations, forming new sentences, paragraphs etc. The trainers explained to the fellows to keep a record of their work on a regular basis so as their report and stories cover the significant points of the work done. All the participants enjoyed participating in the training and found it very useful.

We will keep you updated about the progress of this program as often as we can. Do let us know if you any feedback to share on this update. Thank you once again for supporting us.

With warm regards,

Deepti deepti@sevamandir.org

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