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.
With warm regards,
Greetings from Seva Mandir!
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.
Dear Friends, Happy Holiday Season! Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. This year the winter has started a little later here but it is pleasantly cold right now. We hope it is also nice weather where you are. I am sharing the half yearly report (April to September 2010) which my colleagues have prepared for you with much enthusiasm and gratitude. With this letter we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to you for all your support to this project. During these six months a lot of work was done and on many occasions the village communities and the students have come together to exhibit their solidarity on the issues of Education in our region. In the report one such incidence of village Chhali is narrated. I hope you will enjoy reading more about it. By September 2010 we were running 192 schools with 208 teachers. Total enrollment has been 5,703 with 3,310 boys and 2,393 girls. 227 teachers were enrolled for the certification course which is an in-depth training course for the teachers that Seva Mandir offers in the project you are supporting. However, this year, the village communities also selected some teachers from the Government Schools. This shows that the investments in teachers made by Seva Mandir are of great value in the local community and people are able to see positive impact on their children’s learning. More than 1000 children got enrolled in Government schools this year after graduating from Seva Mandir supported Rural Schools (SKs). We are very excited to share all the progress we have made. We believe that our success is your success. We are delighted sharing it with you and we hope you are also glad to hear about it. Thank you for being a wonderful partner to us. We hope to continue receiving your support as your contribution and support brings us a lot of strength and positive energy. Do consider to donate to us again and tell your friends about this project. Thank you very much once again. A small story at the end of my letter is given for your reference. I hope this holiday season is the best of all you have had so far. With warm regards, Deepti ------------- In Losing Dhana village the Government School was located 2 kms away. During monsoon it was even more difficult for children to walk to it as the stream in the village divided it into two halves. Considering these hardships the village community proposed to open a rural school in their neighborhood. Therefore, Seva Mandir supported the rural community to set up an SK in 2004. At present there are 22 children enrolled in the centre, including 11 boys’ and 11 girls. The SK is run by a local instructor, Premlata, who has studied till class 8th. She teaches children with lot of care and attention, and makes sure that the environment is child friendly and comfortable. One of the students at this centre is Meethalal Rawat (12 years old). He came to this centre in 2009. He had passed out of the Government school in Losing Dhana from class 5th, but could hardly read any letter in Hindi nor could count till 20. After 1 ½ years now at this centre he can now count till 100, can do basic mathematic calculations and read and write small sentences in Hindi. As per the instructor he is friendly to all his classmates and is much disciplined. He loves playing cricket and Kabaddi (Indian sport) too. Lakshmi (12 years old) another student at this centre also studied in government school till 4th class. After realizing that she has not learnt much in 4 years, her parents enrolled her with the SK in 2008. Now after spending 2 years her academic performance has improved drastically. She can read and write sentences, count till 100 and can do basic ma thematic calculations. She enjoys reciting poems in the class. She works hard and is very bright. She dreams to be a teacher in future.
This year the monsoon has turned out quite good. Our lakes are filing up with the rain water at the moment. Though the lakes are still empty a little bit; the people in the city are happy with the amount of water received. In villages, some streams are flowing and it is very beautiful and green everywhere. Since the rains have been good this year, people hope to have a good harvest of ‘corn’. Maize is the staple diet in our region.
With this letter, we are sharing a story of one of the rural schools. As you know your contributions to our rural school program is very significant. We are running 205 rural schools in remote rural areas for children between 6-14 years old. We are reaching out to 5000 children every year.
You must have read the progress report we had posted last time. The progress report indicates that not only do children get quality education in these rural schools but a deeper discussion around quality education gets initiated within the communities. In the report you could see how the local community is taking responsibilities of running these schools and in some cases demanding quality education from the government. It is also incredible to see children performing well and learning more and more day by day in these rural schools. This has all been possible because of support from people like you. So thank you very much for all your support and contributions. We very much hope you would be able to visit us someday.
Many thanks once again. We will keep you posted on our progress.
“In Upli Sigri village there is a rural school and also a government school. Due to the inadequate number of teachers against the total number of children and also the insufficient space in the government school, most families in the village send their children to Seva Mandir supported rural school.
The instructor Ratan Lal Khekria at the rural school has completed a Masters degree in addition to a government certified teacher’s training (B.Ed) while working at the rural school. He is very motivated and teach with care and love to his students.
At this rural school, there are 65 children enrolled. The children attend the school regularly and around 15 children graduate from this rural school to the government school for higher studies every year. In order to get into the government schools, the children appear in an exam and if passed they get enrolled for higher studies.
Last year, Renuka from this rural school appeared in the exam conducted by the government school and passed with very good marks. She subsequently got admission in the coveted and prestigious residential government school “Navodaya Vidyalaya. She is now studying in class 6. It is a big honor for all of us since getting into Navodaya Vidyalaya is not an easy task. Renuka’s achievement lifted confidence of other children too in the village. Her parents too are very proud of the fact that their daughter made it and are happy for her. This year again, 4 students from Upli Sigri rural school have secured admission in the Navodaya Vidyalaya.
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