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.
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