Greetings and Happy Holiday Season!
We hope you are looking forward to your holiday season. You have been adding to our happiness every year with your support and faith, we would like to extend our gratitude to you for your most generous and regular donations every year.
I am sharing the half yearly progress report of the program you are supporting - "Send a Child in India to School for a year". This year 1,178 children graduated from rural schools and were enrolled in Government Schools for higher studies. The 1,879 more children got enrolled in rural schools this year.
These children are also trying to realize their dreams of quality education. They are also on a journey like Santiago of the book 'Alchemist' who was searching for his treasure. Most of these village children are also shepherds as they also take care of their cattle, if they are not going to schools. Those who go to school may take care of their cattle after coming back home from rural schools. They may not cross the boundaries of their villages while taking their cattle out for grazing, but they do all aspire to see good things in their lives. They too, learn to communicate with the their natural environ. In order to make their dreams come true, you are supporting rural schools every year. In these children's lives, you appear as the Old King to help them translate their aspirations into real.
Thank you very much for all your support. We hope we will see many more children to have an access to education in Rajasthan in the years to come. Below my letter, there is a small story of hope which is a small gift to all of us for this Holiday season.
Please do take a look at the report enclosed and encourage us with your feedback. Your support to 178 rural schools is very critical for 5,749 children in Rajasthan. They all are our Santiago.
Thank you once again and with warm regards,
Story of hope:
The Rural School (Shiksha Kendra or SK) was set up in 1994 in Khara Fala, Jhadol with 50 children. For 3 years the community was very happy with the progress made by the school. In 1997 a Government school was set up near the SK. Most children got enrolled in the Government School.
Since now there was a government school the SK was closed down in Khara Fala. The village decided to take it to some other remotest hamlet of the village where there was no Government School. In the other remotest hamlet, the first year 30 children got enrolled. However in the second year, the enrollment was raised to 50 children because the parents were not satisfied with the performance of the Government school in Khara Fala. It meant that children who got enrolled in the government school began to come to the rural school which was located very far from their homes. Every year, more and more children got enrolled in the rural school. In village discussions the parents reported that they would not send their children to government schools because their children were receiving better education in the rural school.
Currently there are 107 children at the rural school. The children who have graduated in the past are excelling in their higher studies. Two children have acquired Bachelor degree (Under Graduation) , one is pursuing his Masters in Hotel Management, the other one is pursuing a Nursing course and 2 others are pursuing their B.S.T.C (Basic School Teaching Certificate).
Some children who have more recently graduated from the rural school are also pursuing higher education including – two children are in their first year of under graduation degree (Bachelor), five children are in 12th standard, 11 children are in 11th standard and fifteen children are in 10th standard.
The children who are graduating from the school have secured good grades in their higher studies too. They are all very happy to have access to quality education which will help them live a good life that they aspire to.
Greetings from Seva Mandir!
Hope you are well. Thank you for supporting eduction of children in our region.
The monsoon has been active in Rajasthan. It has rained a little well but more rains will be great. We still have another month of monsoon. Hopefully it will be a great monsoon year. The lakes in the city, however, are not full yet. The city, however, is all green and beautiful.
I am sharing the annual report of Education Program that you are supporting. The report accounts detailed information on the total number of children enrolled in 2010-2011, teachers trained and various other activities carried out with your support.
Following is a brief fact sheet for your quick reference –
1. 5,694 children were enrolled last year. It includes - 3,288 boys and 2,406 girls.
2. There were 192 Rural Schools or SKs (Shiksha Kendras) but by the end of March 2011 there are 188 schools. Some of them were closed down for various reasons. Please see the report enclosed for more details.
3. 72% of the total token fee across 188 centers was collected. Token fee for each child is Rs. 100 per year. Each rural school spends the collected fee to buy uniforms or shoes or lunch boxes for children at the school. This is a community decision.
4. 193 teachers completed the ‘Teacher certification course’. Please see the enclosed report for more details on the course.
5. A children’s fair was organized in December 2010. It was a successful event with more than 500 children and 200 villagers participation. Children from 16 SK’s, 4 Youth Resource Center (YRC) and Umariya Government school participated in various activities and competitions (Essay writing, drawing, heena tattoo etc).
6. Read more about the story of Himanshu in the report enclosed.
Please do check out the report enclosed. I hope you will enjoy reading all the progress your support has afforded to these children. Many thanks to all of you for your continuing support to this program. Please do write to us if you have any queries. We will keep you updated about the progress of this program as well as about the monsoon.
With warm regards,
Hope you are well. Thank you for your continuing support. We are very grateful to you donations and inputs .
Every time with our letter to you, we wish to acquaint you with Seva Mandir a bit more. In this letter, you will get to know about the process of our business planning.
Seva Mandir focuses on communities rather than on individual/s. The belief is that in order to bring about the durable changes in the society; the constructive work involving all the community members is important because social problems are complex. It therefore, takes longer but the outcomes are more sustainable and long lived. Therefore, Seva Mandir has a three pronged strategy –
1) To create and strengthen institutions for development (at the village, organization and society levels)
2) To enhance people’s capabilities for self-development (both at individual and community level); and
3) To create sustainable improvements in the livelihoods base.
Our bottom-up approach allows creating stakes for every section of society to participate in their own development. We very much hope that you will enjoy knowing about our business planning phase that we are going through right now.
It has been a very hot summer here in Rajasthan this year. We are now all prepared to welcome the monsoon which should be here in the next week and half. Gradually it is getting humid day by day and we are trying not to let the rising temperatures effect us and are currently in the midst of the exciting organization wide planning process to develop our 7th Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan outlines the strategic direction and action-plans for Seva Mandir over the next three-year plan period (2012-2015).
Seva Mandir has been preparing Comprehensive Plans since 1990 as a way to systematically review and evolve its near-term strategic priorities across all programmatic areas. The process of putting together the Comprehensive Plan also serves as an opportunity for Seva Mandir to reflect upon the work we have done, examine the environment we work in and evolve our strategies accordingly, within the context of past lessons learnt and the overall long-term vision of the organization.
The process for creating the 7th Comprehensive Plan began in late 2010 and includes all levels of Seva Mandir’s tiers viz. - from the villages where we work all the way up to the Chief Executive Officer. The Comprehensive Plan process is consistent with Seva Mandir’s bottom-up approach, with the kick-off meetings taking place at the village level with the Chief Executive present. After these initial meetings, the staff members at the zone and block offices had an opportunity to share their thoughts, observations and information. Using the information gathered from the field, the Programs devised their strategies for the upcoming years. These were presented to the organization as a whole, where debate, discussion, criticism and suggestions took place.
We are now headed into the final stages of this exciting process. Programs are incorporating the comments and suggestions into their reports, and putting the final touches in to the operating frameworks. This is an exciting time at Seva Mandir and we are really looking forward to the next few years when we can put these strategies into effect and watch the change they make.
The integrated approach allows all our partners, friends, donors and well wishers to contribute to the holistic development of our communities. Any project/program that you support for Seva Mandir is a part of this comprehensive plan. Thank you so much for regularly supporting our cause and making a difference.
We will soon be providing you with an annual report of our programs you are supporting on Global Giving. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
I have three things to say before we talk about the project you are supporting.
One - we recently participated in a fund raising event on Global Giving UK. The challenge Top 10 wins challenge (1st to 14th March) required the participant projects to raise at least of £ 500 with minimum of 25 donors. Seva Mandir participated with its project “Improving Food Security for Tribal Farmers in India”. This project helps 5000 poor, marginalized farmers in rural Udaipur to have better crops and thus earn more money/food. This is done through a variety of programs including – seed bank program, using organic manure prepared with the help of earth worms (vermin-composting), growing cash crops like vegetables (preparing nurseries) for self sustenance and income generation. You would be very happy to note that this project raised £705 from 31 donors in the Top 10 Wins Challenge and therefore it won a bonus prize of £300. It is a perfect gift on this Holi for our farmers.
Secondly, on the 19th and 20th March we celebrated our festival Holi (festival of colors in India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi). The festival is also a symbol of celebrating the harvest of winter crop in our region. This festival signifies the end of our winters and beginning of summer. March is also our financial year end and therefore it is wonderful to end our year with lots of support from people like you and having a good harvest at this Holi. And
Finally, this year, at this point of time, Seva Mandir is going through some change. Our ex Chief Executive Ms. Neelima Khetan has stepped down on March 31st. She has spent 25 years with Seva Mandir and the last twelve years as the Chief Executive. The organization excelled during her time and with her leadership marked a number of achievements. Though she has left us due to our constitutional norms, we are very happy to have her as our Trustee on Seva Mandir Board. Her continuing association with Seva Mandir is very assuring for all of us.
Ms. Priyanka Singh has taken over as Chief Executive of Seva Mandir from April 2011. She has spent over thirteen years with Seva Mandir heading Education and Health program and leading Badgaon Block (a geographical unit for our work). She has a post graduate degree in rural development from the same institute as Ms. Khetan did. She is very capable and a great person to work with. With her deep understanding of issues in rural development and support from all our friends like you, we are very much looking forward to seeing Seva Mandir keep doing its good work in the next years to come. At this point of time, we all look for your continuous support and faith for many more years of working together.
In the work area of Seva Mandir several villages do not have access to electricity. It may have some impact on studying after sunset. Last year a solar light company approached Seva Mandir for solar lights in the villages. The company donated 80 solar lamps (Rs.1,600 each) to Seva Mandir.
These lamps were distributed to 80 children in four of our Blocks who are currently in rural schools. These children agreed to share the light with children from other families.
In each Block the rural schools were selected based on the fact that they were remote and do not have electricity connection. The students from these centers were chosen on the basis of their economic background, number of children per family, distance of their house from the school, availability of light in the vicinity etc. Results show that the children who were given the solar lamps are using it to study at night. This has also reduced the family’s dependence on oil for lighting lanterns. With reduced usage of oil, villagers are considering using solar lights against oil lamps.
Mithori Kumari lives in Palesar village of Kotra Block. She is attending the rural school and is good in her studies. She received the solar light a few months ago. She says that the solar light works for up to 5 hours a day. This allows her and her 2 siblings to study at night when all the household work is completed. Her mother is also happy as the solar light has meant reduced usage of oil for lighting. Their neighbors are also now thinking of having a solar lamp so as they don’t have to worry about getting an electricity connection which is very expensive.
“Send a child in India to School” is an ongoing program and we are very fortunate to have friends like you who support it regularly. We are excited every time communicating with you these stories and achievements. This project is close to its goal of raising support on Global Giving. We will be submitting a final progress report of April 2010 to March 2011 by early April this year. By that time, we would have raised the remaining goal, hopefully.
Since it is an ongoing program, we would seek your support for the next year too. We hope you will support your favorite program again and help hundreds of children to attend schools.
Thank you once again for your contribution. We are grateful to you for your continuing faith. We hope that you will be able to visit/write to encourage our new team and leadership.
Happy Holi to you and your family from all of us here.
Wishing you a very happy, prosperous and wonderful 2011. Thank you friends for extending peace, love and support to all of us in 2010. We look forward to another great year with you. Year by year, our association is getting stronger. Thank you very much for adding happiness to our lives.
A small drawing made by Durga Kumari is presented as a token of our wishes to you.
Have an awesome year ahead.
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