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...
Aug 7, 2013

You helped Laxmi revive her traditional pottery business

Confident Laxmi Bai
Confident Laxmi Bai

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Hope you are well. I would like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now be communicating with you through these project reports. I am glad to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.

Today I want to share with you a story of Laxmi Bai from Shishvi village.

Shishvi village, situated in the Girwa block, hosts 300 families that are from a multi-caste origin. Seva Mandir has set up a village development fund in the village many years ago. People elect a village development committee, which facilitates the fund and development issues in the village. The interest of the fund is used for different purposes: pastureland, well-deepening, toilets construction and to providing loans to women who are members of Self Help Group (SHG). Laxmi is one such SHG member.

She invested Rs. 10,000 in her traditional family business – pottery. Previously she did not have a regular source of income. She was involved in household work and sometimes had the opportunity to work as laborer in MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act - a Government employment scheme). She always wanted to revive her traditional business but did not have enough money and courage to do so.

When she saw the possibility of taking a bit of credit from her SHG, she spoke to her father in law and explored if they could re-establish the family business which was lost due to lack of funds. Laxmi therefore, took the loan of Rs. 10,000.  She began her partnership with her father in law to make pots. They bought mud and repaired their wheel to start producing clay art. Later, Seva Mandir organized training on producing different types of articles with clay.

Laxmi said “since now in the market people have access to all modern clay art, if we kept producing the traditional pitchers, we only would make business during weddings. Today the customer wants to buy different kinds of items for decoration and household use. The training therefore was timely. We now also have bought an ‘electric wheel’. Now we make an average of Rs. 2,000 per month. Now I don’t have to go for labor work. I can stay home and make an income to lead a dignified life”.

The SHGs have not only given women economic strength, it has also empowered them socially by bringing them together to discuss their socio-development concerns. These women are active in resolving issues such as doctor not showing up in the clinic, what is the minimum wage in government schemes etc. They contact Seva Mandir staff if they have further questions or seek advice how to go about resolving a particular issue. To these women, Seva Mandir is a key partner to foster development in their village Shishvi.

The success of these women is also largely due to your support. We value our partnership with you and hope that some day you will be able to visit some of these strong women like Laxmi in our work area.

Thank you again for your support.

Atul Lekhra.

Links:

Aug 2, 2013

You helped Ratni make $ 1200 a year

Ratni Bai with her Flour Mill
Ratni Bai with her Flour Mill

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Hope you are well. I like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now communicating with you through these project reports. I am gald to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.

We are in our monsoon season currently. Now, the rain has been pretty good lately and the area is covered with greenery which makes village visits these days very picturesque.

Today, I want to share with you the story of Ratni Bai from Majhera village. She works at home and takes care of her cattle. She always aspired to make some money so she can contribute towards family income. One day in one of Seva Mandir’s meetings she learnt about the self help group (SHG). All the women were encouraged with the idea of small savings every month. The women also learnt how they will be grouped, how their meetings will take place and how the leader in that group is selected.

Ratni Bai was very inspired with this idea. She initiated a group and named it “BheruBhawani”. She was a successful leader and facilitated the functioning of the group well. Soon the group members created a fund with their savings and began to give small credits to their members. Ratni Bai took a loan of Rs. 1,100 from their fund. She contributed Rs. 3,000 from her personal savings. With a total of Rs. 4,100 now, she started a small general store selling items of daily use. She did so well in her business that within a short time she purchased a flour mill. She also re-paid her loan back.  

In the village people come to her flour mill and Ranti is able to make Rs. 200 every day. She is very happy with her progress and of the fact that she dared to dream. With her earnings, she has also gained respect in her family as she is a contributing member and ensuring good education to her children.

Ratni’s and so many women’s success is also a result of the supported extended by friends like you. We value our partnership with you and hope that some day you will be able to meet with strong women like Ratni in our work area.

Thank you again for your support.

Atul Lekhra.

Links:

Jul 24, 2013

Emily says Dal Mill is an Important Resource for Local Community

Mrs. Shanker getting the details of our Project
Mrs. Shanker getting the details of our Project

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Hope you are well. I like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now communicating with you through these project reports. I am gald to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.

We are in our monsoon season currently. Though the rains have not been so good, the area is covered with greenery which makes village visits these days very picturesque. In early July, Mrs. Kamala Shankar and Ms. Emily Mitchell visited village Medi where the Dal Mill is located. They both enjoyed their visit and learning about the Dal Mill program.

Emily took several pictures of the area, people and of Dal Mill. Mrs. Shankar was very curious to understand everything about the project, how Dal gets processes and the impact it creates on people’s lives in Medi.

The person In Charge of Dal Mill Mr. Sanjay Vakode, for its day-to-day functioning explained the project and also gave heads up which I enclose below for your reference  -

1)      The mill has been able to acquire new clients and diversify its buyers including hotels like Taj Lake Palace, retail store in Gujarat that promotes unpolished dal. Having these buyers makes sure the farmers have a regular income for their produce.  

 

2)      The mill had sent a sample of Tuar dal to QPS laboratories, Hyderabad in order to test if there is any chemical (urea and pesticides) present in it. The laboratories declared that the produce is completely free from any pesticides and chemical. This is exciting news as it makes the Taur Dal of this mill even more attractive.

 

Seeing the mill Emily said “It is clear that this mill has been a very important resource for the local community.” Mrs. Shankar said, she will be talking about the progress of this project to her friends when she goes back to home in the US.

We are very proud of the hard work these farmers have put in to make Dal Mill project a huge success. As you may know the project has helped the farmers receive 30% more income and it is certainly a good news especially in the times of tough economy. Much of this success is also due to your untiring support. It is a great partnership and we hope to continue having you by our side. Please do let us know if you have any questions.

 

Thank you again.

Atul Lekhra.

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