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...
Jan 27, 2009

Yale Students took up the challenge...

January 27, 2009

Dear Friend,

New Year Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Thank you very much for all your support to our programs. I am Deepti and I look after the Reporting and Communication Program in Seva Mandir. I will be staying in touch with you regularly to keep you updated about the program that you have been supporting.

This month, I would like to share with you some interesting developments in this project. Before I begin I would like to give you a brief background of the recent development.

The Yale School of Management Social Entrepreneurs Program chose 5 Non Profit Organizations (including Seva Mandir) across the world last year. The purpose was to provide their students with an opportunity to conduct a small research on the topics give by these 5 Organizations for their semester called Global Social Enterprise.

In the end of September 2008 Seva Madnir made a presentation of Village Development Fund Program (GVK) in Yale University, USA. A group of 4 students opeted for Seva Mandir and began their research on –“Effective Management and Utilization of Village Development Fund (GVK)”. Over a period of 3 months, the students conducted the research by gathering data from us through emails, phone and speaking to our colleagues online regularly. In late December 2008 – early January 2009 these students spent 7 days in villages of Seva Mandir to fine tune their understanding of the problem.

On January 5th 2009 the students made a presentation for representatives from 200 villages of Seva Mandir to share what according to them could be the best solution for “Effective Management and Utilization of Village Development Fund”. The presentation was followed by several queries and comments by villagers. The followings have been the major outcome of the interactive discussion –

1. A Federation is recommended consisting of all Village Development Funds from 550 villages. 2. The Federation will serve a financial platform to utilize the existing village funds to maximize the profit. 3. Majority of villagers shown interest in investing into the Federation for a) asset management and b) local development within the village. 4. All the representatives from the villages agreed upon discussing the idea with their village and think towards it more seriously.

The students from Yale were very enthusiastic of the discussions held on 5th January 2009 after their presentation. One of the students Jessica said - “talking on such a vibrant issue with the people at such a larger level and showing their interest on creating a federation on a larger scale like this is really incredible. I feel people in my country will hardly believe the fact that people from the diverse part of the world are so energetic hopeful on the issue of creating democratic and participatory platform. The gathering of these large numbers of people too, is almost unbelievable.”

Since everyone was positive about creating a Federation currently we are looking at issues like Governance and structure of the Federation, membership criteria, norms etc.

We will keep you updated about the developments in this program. Also, it would be wonderful if you could provide us with your inputs on this. For queries and information, kindly contact me at deepti@sevamandir.org.

I hope you find this feedback useful. A very big Thank you once again to all of you for keeping your faith in us and providing us the opportunity to share with you our great stories. Looking forward to hearing from you on this.

With warm regards,

Deepti Ameta In Charge Reporting and Communications deepti@sevamandir.org

Jan 21, 2009

Laid the Foundation Stone!!!

January 19, 2009

Dear Friend,

New Year Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Thank you very much for your continued supported. I am Deepti and I look after the Reporting and Communication Program in Seva Mandir. I will be staying in touch with you regularly to keep you updated about the program that you have been supporting.

We have some exciting news to share. However, before sharing the exciting news I would like to go over the time line for this program as to refresh what we have done in past few months in this program.

Starting with discussion on a Mill project in October 2007 we successfully sold the procured Tur Dal (Piegon Pea) in January 2008. This boosted confidence in all the member farmers (a total 50 farmer got registered initially from 5 villages). As a result, we agreed to revise the business plan and submitted its proposal to our various Partners including Global Giving in February-March 2008 for raising funds.

In April we organized a training on Processing Technique of Dal (Pulse) for member-farmers. This was funded and supported by the Government of India. In May the marketing of the processed Dal that farmers had learnt to produce during training in April was done. This particular exercise encouraged the farmers since they sold Dal at a price they could not imagine (the farmers otherwise sell off their Dal without processing at a very low price). As a result the member began to grow slowly and reached to about 100 in January 2009.

In June 2008 an agreement was made between the farmers, Seva Mandir and the Government for granting the farmers funds for buying Machinery for this Project. It was followed by procuring Machinery in July and in August the process of locating a piece of land where the machine can be installed was completed. In three months of last year i.e. from October to December the member farmers managed to procure a piece of land from the Local Village Council (Panchayat) and began the action plan of installing the Machinery.

The exciting news is that the member farmers have laid the stone of Foundation on 3rd January 2009. Every member is very excited about this. All part of the Mill has been bought except the Diesel Engine.

The procurement of Tur Dal is currently going on and the target is to procure at least of 100 qtl. We expect that Building the Mill-House will be completed by March 2009 if we manage to raise $ 3650 which is the deficit amount for construction.

On the other account, for procurement too, we are looking for funds. Although, we did manage to raise $ 2100, but we are in deficit of another $4000 to support the remaining costs for procurement.

It has become quite a long feedback, but there is more I want to share with you as what a member-farmer is? How does it work? Why we need funds for procurement etc.

We would like to say a big Thank you for keeping your faith in us and proving these farmers a big opportunity to earn more income.

Thank you once again. I would be very happy to address to your queries if any.

With warm regards,

Deepti Ameta In Charge Reporting and Communications deepti@sevamandir.org

Jan 21, 2009

Thank you. You brought us to TOP 5

January 17, 2009

Dear Friend,

New Year Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Thank you very much for your continued supported. I am Deepti and I look after the Reporting and Communication Program in Seva Mandir. I will be staying in touch with you regularly to keep you updated about the program that you have been supporting.

We feel immense pleasure to inform you that our project ‘Send a child in India to School for 1 year’ was the top 5 most active projects last week on GlobalGiving!

This has only been possible because of the support from people like you. Thank You very much for keeping your faith in our work and encouraging us every time. We are indeed very fortunate to have you as our friend.

With this great news, I would also like to share with you an interesting episode that took place in December 2008. I was taking a group of visitors from St. Christopher School, England. We share a very special relationship with them. They have been supporting some of our program for past many years and have contributed in designing the pedagogy we use in schools.

The visit to Sagwada village was planned particularly because a couple of years ago we bought a few reading/writing tables with a donation from St. Christopher School for children in school of Sagwada village. We thought it would be great for them to see how the tables are being used by children in that school. The children sit in a group while studying and together use the table for reading, writing, drawing etc.

When we arrived the teacher was teaching English to his students. He picked up a bunch of flash cards and started asking each child to name the picture on flash card in English. Every child was able to name the picture in English but to our surprise they were also able to spell each name in English correctly.

It is very impressing as it has only been a few months last year that we have provided the teachers with trainings to teach English in schools. Many of these teachers have not been to University but their ability to learn and teach with great dedication is amazing. Likewise, the dedication with which the children have learnt their lessons is also incredible. We were all very impressed at this.

I very much hope that you find this feedback and photos in Photo Gallery useful.

Thank you to all of you for making it possible for us to share these incredible stories with you. Please feel free to contact me in case of any query or information.

With warm regards,

Deepti Ameta, In Charge Reporting and Communications deepti@sevamandir.org

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