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...
Oct 23, 2014

Dal Mill: Farmers taking Responsibilities

Dear Friends,

It has been 6 years since the formation of Nala Bachat Samiti, a group of 86 tribal farmers who are the real owners of the dal mill. From the day of its inception, Nala Bachat Samiti has taken active responsibility in undertaking operations of the dal mill. Members of Nala Bachat Samiti has played active role in procurement of raw pulses during the procurement seasons. They have also participated in the operations of machinery in the dal mill. Regular meetings have been organized over the years providing information and updates to members of Nala Bachat Samiti. Nala Bachat Samiti has matured enough to undertake the role of conflict resolution in the dal mill. Recently, the workers in the dal mill were heckled and harassed by a tribal villager named Vivek (name changed) who is also a disgruntled alcoholic. There have been quite a number of instances when he has beaten up workers in the dal mill and forcefully taken away dal without paying. In the recent meeting with Nala Bachat Samiti, this incident was brought up and a resolution was asked for from the Samiti (group). The members of the Nala Bachat Samiti, which included a family member of Vivek, unanimously decided to take turns to guard the dal mill from intrusion as also warned Vivek against future misbehavior with employees of the dal mill.

Having said that, the members of Nala Bachat Samiti have agreed to motivate more villagers to deliver their produce in the dal mill to meet the increased target of 80 tonnes of raw pulses. The new procurement centres in the villages will also be manned and monitored by members of Nala Bachat Samiti. Over time, the Nala Bachat Samiti will be empowered enough to take its own responsibilities in the entire operations of the dal mill.

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

Regards

Atul Lekhra 

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Sep 9, 2014

New Hope for 1000 Women.. Thank You

Dear Friends,

Burhi is one of the 1000 women benefiting from our Wadi (small orchard) Project in the remote Guda village, Rajasthan.

A village where community is ruled by patriarchal norms, where land is never registered on the woman’s name, Seva Mandir has distributed wadi’s in the name of these tribal women. Burhi is the proud owner of her lemon, mango, jack fruit and vegetable wadi. Last year she earned Rs. 7,000 by selling vegetables. She is happy that now she can contribute to her family’s wellbeing.

These wadi’s are also providing food security to these tribal families. Before this, they had to migrate to neighboring states for employment and food. But with wadi’s on their own and support by Seva Mandir, these families are now self-sustained. This project is still in its third year and we hope to see the best of results by the end of seven year.

Thank you for your support.

Regards

Atul Lekhra

Links:

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:

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