Sheerni Self-Help Group Setrawa
There are 109 members in the 10 Self-help Groups.
There are 20 women who have ongoing loans
In January 2015, Groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 there were only 20,000-30,000 rupees in the funds, and so loans were not distributed to these groups.
Group 5 10000 rupees was given to Shaida to open a shop
Group 6 6000 rupees was given to both Muni and Indra for a goat each
In February, there were 4 loans in Groups 2,4, 5 and 10.
10000 rupees was given to Rajukanwar for 1 cow
10000 rupees was given to Champa for 2 goats
5000 rupees was given to both Dariya and Sayar for 1 goat each
In March, 3 women from Groups 1 and 3 were given loans to start a small shop.
Muni, Shanti and Hemlata were given 13000, 12,000 and 10,000 rupees respectively.
Setrawa Sheerni Compost Project
For 6 weeks from 23 March to 16 May, one of the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) volunteers attached to Sambhali Trust has been working on a project which introduces the production of organic waste composting to 15 Sheerni women through a series of educational workshops, from which the resulting compost will then be sold to local farmers. This will create an income–generating opportunity that will also address desertification (Setrawa is in the semi-arid Thar desert region) and waste management to the village. By composting the earth, the farmers have the potential to rejuvenate the land allowing for replanting of grasslands for cattle. The more plant life in a region, the more water retention there is in the ground and humidity levels in the air.
At present most families burn their rubbish in community piles on the outskirts of the village or allow for street animals to eat the waste; so this project helps reduce the waste in the streets but also there is a consistent supply of free waste material for production. The compost itself is made from food, biological dust, cow dung and water.
Sheerni Educational Project (Boarding Home), Jodhpur
The girls received the results of their half-year exams in January and in general all the girls did well with Vimla, Leela, Nehru, Lalita, Manisha having very good results and Priya, Samta, Sangeeta and Santosh not so good and A few had problems in Maths like Pooja and Vishnu.
All girls are making progress in Hindi reading; just Neru who still has some problems and Noshin doesn’t enjoy reading English books; however, the volunteers work hard reading everyday with the girls and helping those like Rekha who has more problems. The volunteers also keep a schedule for when the girls have an upcoming test or homework and know how to help them prepare.
In March, The elder girls such as Nisha, Lalita, Santosh and Vimla were struggling especially with the English tenses and the volunteers concentrated on teaching the girls English and left the Maths to being taught this at school in Hindi. Alfisha has been impressive as she is reading Hindi fluently like her sister and Pooja has been remarkable because in 95% of her past tests in English she has received full marks and is very motivated to learn and every day asks a volunteer to help her read an English story. Pankaj for her age and her class (2nd grade) is a very good English speaker and has achieved good grades.
Sheerni Educational Project (Boarding Home)
The 22 girls are all improving at school and their latest tests were good, the majority nearly getting full marks, with Asu having problems in Maths and Rekha at reading, but the volunteers are spending 4 hours there daily are working to help them pick up. So in their half-year exams in December,they all had good results apart from Priya, Samta,Sangeeta and Santosh.
The girls were delighted to receive their own lap-top which was given to them by some guests visiting Sambhali’s projects. Now the volunteers are teaching them how to use the computer and programmes like „Word“ and „Paint“. They also gave several workshops including those about South America, Antartica and Europe; then concentrating on geography of Europe in particular and the different landscape and cultures. They have also done a fashion workshop – clothes, their fabrics, many cultures with different clothes, asking the girls to create their own fashion model and a handicraft workhop where the girls created bracelets from different colour threads.
Their height and weight measurements are regularly taken and they are all gaining weight eating the nutritious vegetarian meals they receive at the boarding home. There is a lot of construction work going on at the moment to create more space in the boarding home, so the girls have more areas to relax, study and play, which will be important as they grow older, as now the age range is 8-15 years old.
On Republic Day, January 26, the volunteers received an invitation to go to their school where there was a lot of singing and dancing performances lasting for 4 hours. Some girls had to go back to their village in January for 10 days to attend a marriage.
All girls are progressing in reading especially Hindi reading, only Neru has some problems but she is being given some extra tuition. Every day the volunteers read English books with some of them. We concentrate on girls who has deficits like Rekha.
Sheerni Self-Help Group Project
There are 10 self-help groups who meet every month to pay in their savings, and discuss the distribution of loans.
In August, 10,000 rupees was given to 2 women to purchase a little shop and to buy goats.
In September, more women were added to Group 7 and in Group 2, one women received 6000 rupees for material for her shop
In October 2 women from Group 1 paid their loan back, of 9000 rupees each. In Group 6 Sua Devi was given 10000 rupees to purchase a cow and now must pay back 1000 rupees per month. In Group 5 Sugna received 10000 rupees to start a small shop. Two other women also received loans of 10000 rupees to purchase a cow each.
In November, 3 women received loans of 9000, 14000 and 10000 rupees to start small shops and purchase 2 goats.
In December, there were a lot of loans, in total 19 women took out loans worth 181,000 rupees.
Sua Devi was presented with some money from a volunteer because she needed a medical operation and now we are glad to say that she is recovering happily.
The girls returned to the boarding home on 26 June before the schools reopened on 1 July after the summer holidays. We prepared books, uniforms, shoes, etc. to send the girls to school, however, this month, the government schools have a new system: the schools don’t provide the books any longer and the students have to purchase the books themselves, so we spent a lot of time buying the books they needed for school.
The girls are now in many new classes at the beginning of a new school year and 4 girls, Leela, Nakhtu, Pooja, and Aasu jumped up a class and went straight to the 5th class instead of the 4th after some very good exam results before the summer break.
One of the Sambhali tutors Vimlesh, spent some time teaching Math and other subjects to all of the girls as well as helping them with their computer homework. Nirmala the Housemother helped them with their homework. All the girls are studying very well, and the volunteers help them with homework, with English reading and pronunciation and Maths. The volunteers have noticed a big difference in reading skills; Priya, Manisha and Vimla can read an entire book and are fluent, whereas Rekha and Pooja find it difficult to read if they don’t know the text. At the end of the afternoon, the volunteers spend time communicating with the girls in different ways, by speaking, playing games, reading stories, singing and drawing. There have been between 4-6 volunteers helping the girls at the boarding home this month, who go every afternoon Monday-Friday for 3 hours. Exam-time came round again on 21 August and the volunteers helped to train the girls for their tests, but they noticed that most of the girls didn’t really understand what they were learning, just questions and answers, so they spent time trying to explain to the girls the stories they are reading, although it proved slightly difficult as the volunteers can’t speak Hindi. During August there were a couple of birthday celebrations for Santosh, Vimla and Pooja as well as the Rakhi festival. Unfortunately Naktu’s grandmother died and 10 girls left to go back to the village for a couple of days for her funeral.
In September, we had some new volunteers. They found that in Math, most girls knew how to calculate and so they checked and corrected the exercises. Alfisha, the newest and youngest girl at 7 y ears old has some problems with Maths and needed more tuition. Priya, who is 14 years old and excelling at reading is now in Class 9, whereas Rekha is 15 years old and is only in the 5th class. The volunteers help Rekha on a daily basis with reading to help her improve as with all those girls who are still reading very slowly and also concentrate on understanding the content. Also they found mistakes in the actual sentence structure in the exercise and reading books; the volunteers wanted to talk to the teachers of the school about this so that the mistakes can be corrected in the books.
A couple of guests arrived from Australia (Timi and Mary) who had already visited a couple of times before. They noticed that the girls were learning about computers at school, but it was just theory and they thought it would be more effective if they provided a laptop for the sole use of the girls in the boarding home. So the girls were very happy with the new laptop; now the volunteers need to teach all the girls how to use it...! In early September when the weather is now slightly less hot, the girls go every Friday to the park area surrounding the temple after they’ve finished their homework to play outside and have fun. They also had a painting competition one day, where the winners won a small prize.
On the 15th and 16th September, the girls went to the ASG hospital for checking their eyes and some girls they found it necessary to wear glasses and they received the glasses for free. They have a doctor from the Mathura Das Mathur Hospital in Jodhpur regularly going to see the girls once a month to check on their general health and well-being. On the 20 September the girls visited the cinema and watched the movie called "Mary Kom" about a women who achieves her dream and starts her boxing carrer against the will of her father. The girls really enjoyed it. On the 25th the girls had a day’s holiday for Navatri. At the end of the month, we showed them short animation movies in English for listening practice; it was a short story about finding a treasure. Again, we celebrated 3 more birthdays this month. Certain girls are now showing great dedication towards their schoolwork: Priya, Vimla, Manisha, Santosh, Nisha, Anu and Pankaj are interested in all the subjects in school.
In October, Renate Massmann-Krei, volunteer and now President of Freunde fur Sambhali in Germany returned again for the 2nd time. It was thought it would be better to change the structure of the learning by dividing the girls into groups, which reflect their class in school. They concentrated on practising verb tenses because they had learned the five tenses (simple present, present progressive, simple past, past perfect, present perfect and future) at school in just a few days, which meant that they got confused about how and when to use them. The volunteers practised with the easy tenses like simple present and present progressive and then will progress to practise the other tenses.
With Anu, Priyanka, Samta, Vishnu and Pushpa we practised the exercises for the test specifically, where the test was about a story which they have to memorize and then fill in the gaps to say if it's right or wrong. With Aasu, Leela and Naktu we practised fractions; at first they had problems understanding what to do but finally they understood it. The older girls like Vimla, Priya and Santosh are mostly learning by themselves and if they have questions, they can ask the volunteers.
Renate suggested an idea of using the Diwali holidays, for doing workshops in the morning. We started with a workshop about the earth, moon, sun, continents and oceans. The other topics were means of transportation and the different western festivals and holidays and a special workshop on handicraft skills The students liked the workshops a lot and because of this, we want to launch a "workshop day" once a week. Currently we have lots of ideas for the workshops in the future.
On the 8 October two guests came from America came to Sambhali Trust and also went to the boarding home, so we danced and sang different songs.
On the 17 October, the girls had 1 week holiday because of Diwali. They had to do special Diwali homeworks like drawing oil lamps and candles, but also English and Math. On the 30 October to 1 November the girls had exams in school. The majority of the girls received good results. A few had problem in Math like Pooja and Vishnu.
In January 2014, a new group started (Group 9) with 12 new women. We explained to the women how the groups work and the rules, opening a bank account and starting to deposit monthly savings. Another 11 women were also keen to join in this project and so we established Group 10 in May 2014 and they also have recently opened a bank account. They are all keen to take loans through Sambhali, because the interest is low, (Per 100 rupees there is 1 rupee decreasing interest).
There are now 112 women in 10 Groups within this Project.
The women have attended the monthly meetings, taken by Manju Mehta, Sambhali Trust’s Project Co-ordinator, although some months the women have needed to attend to the crops in their fields, but the women in all the groups have attended regularly except unfortunately Solyankiyatala, who found it difficult to attend and who haven’t appeared to be committed enough despite repeated encouragement from Mrs Mehta. The Founder/Director of Sambhali Trust, Mr. Govind Singh Rathore, also travels regularly to Setrawa and has a discussion with the women and explains how Sambhali can help them.
Apart from Solyankiyatala, 99% of the women have been increasingly active and confident in wanting to take out loans to purchase goats, cows, flour grinding machines and start small shops and even to buy equipment to help with the construction of their house. The groups have been very successful in paying their loans and the table below shows how many loans have been given out to all the groups in 2013-14.
Where some members have been unable to get loans, or cannot afford to take out a loan, with the help of Global Giving some donations have also been provided in the form of goats and cows which have been given to selected members of the groups which has also helped some members to pay their electricity bills where they have been unable to do so. Those members who receive these donations are suggested by the members of each group, who agree that those women are in particularly difficult circumstances and need direct help.
The women are very happy, motivated and empowered by their increased ability to be able to help themselves by starting these small businesses and also many of their children are either attending Sambhali’s Empowerment Centre in Setrawa or are being sponsored through Sambhali to go to school. There are also now 20 children from Setrawa going to school in Jodhpur as part of the Sheerni Educational Programme which has considerably improved the educational standard of these girls as well as providing an optimistic future. The ongoing success and establishment of Sambhali’s Empowerment Centre in Setrawa has helped to be the central core around which many activities are provided by the staff and volunteers that also encompass the these women and their families. A second empowerment centre also opened in June 2014 approx. 5 km from Setrawa in an outlying hamlet which provides literacy and sewing classes to poor uneducated women and children of this rural desert area. We have a local tutor, Pooja Kanwar who has been trained internally through Sambhali by shadowing our Hindi and Sewing tutors in the Jodhpur Empowerment Centre.
Volunteers within the Setrawa Empowerment Centre, have provided outreach programmes to the families, teaching them about the water cycle and hygiene, whilst we have also had a many groups of volunteers and interns taking a keen interest in the lives of the women in this rural desert area; one group from the U.S who were studying health and nutrition at university spent 10 days looking at the health and nutrition of these women and teaching them the value of nutritious foods, which local foods have various nutrient components in them; as well as purifying water.
Sheerni Educational Project Update
In February, Vimlesh Solanki, one of our existing tutors who was teaching the children in our project at Balikah Grah, the government boarding home, was appointed to come to the boarding house to help support the girls with their Hindi and other subjects. The volunteers help with English and Maths homework on a daily basis when they go to the boarding home for a couple of hours a day and Nirmala the housemother, now needs the assistance of a Hindi speaking tutor with the 20 girls. A structure was established to do homework all together first, then have a group activity or task related to Maths/English and then they would all go to the park nearby for sports and games. In March volunteers were taking dance and theater classes and the girls enjoyed these very much.
Gerti, one of the Sambhali volunteers who has returned for a second time, had put together some First Aid boxes with a lot of equipment in them and held a First Aid workshop for the girls and Nirmala. They now have a first aid box and knowledge about what to do in cases of injuries and burns.
In school, the Principal checked the notebooks and homework of the girls and most girls got good marks, but Samta and Vishnu had poor writing and were missing exercises; Rekha also has problems in school. Vimla, Santosh, Priyanka and Kaushalya spent some days in the village because of a wedding. On 27 February Anne Vincent from the Global Foundation for Humanity visited the boarding house with two other guests to check on the progress of the girls.
In March the girls were preparing for exams. The volunteers concentrated hard working with the girls in Maths. All of the girls know written addition and subtraction now. Pankaj shows an ability to solve problems that even girls in class 4,(the class above her), have problems with. Pankaj has shown to be very bright.
After January (the winter holiday) the girls behaved quite badly, which was beginning to disrupt the group, and so Mrs Manju Metha, Sambhali’s Project Co-ordinator and Mr. Virendra Singh explained to the girls how to behave, and everything settled down again. They asked that all the staff and volunteers to spend half an hour every day, teaching the girls good behaviour.
Pankaj, Rekha and Vishnu are starting to read English. The girls reading in the 3rd Standard are reading English and are good at Maths. All of the girls have great results at school and have good grades. Asu is one of the best ones reading and drawing. Next year they will put her in 5th Standard class, instead of 4th because she is so good. Samta is doing her best writing now.
All of the girls have received a follow-up session on Sambhali’s No Bad Touch Workshop by our Sambhali NBT Project team, regarding awareness about Child Sexual Abuse. On 24 March all the girls had inoculation against hepatitis. The Boarding home have changed the arrangements and so now the girls eat downstairs on a long table, where they have more space.
In April, as the girls had their exams during this month, we did more studying and teaching with them than normal. While Vimlesh has been working a lot with the older girls, the volunteers took more care of the younger ones. Grade 3 and 4 had to learn different passages out of their books: some they had to be able to write, others they had to read well or know by heart.
Apart from this, there have been lessons when the older girls (starting from 5th grade) had been taught and repeated the tenses (with Vimlesh and a volunteer). In addition, Vimlesh taught them spelling of different words and checked if they could remember one day later. They also learned spelling in a game.
Anu was struggling with English, so we had some extra reading and writing lessons and we are encouraging her to speak English as much as possible so she can gain confidence in her abilities. Pushpa is struggling a lot. While she is able to say the necessary things in English, it is really difficult for her to write or read. She needs more help with English and she is motivated to learn. Rekha’s spoken English is good enough to be able to talk to her and have a conversation but needs more help from the volunteers to help her write English. Priya seems to do very well and understands fast, if she gets taught something new. Two girls had a lot of problems reading Hindi, so Vimlesh was helping them and taught them how to read with great success. She also taught them strategies how they can learn best.
Nirmala, the housemother, taught the girls how to pronounce the vowels and helped them in reading Hindi. She also assisted the older girls in social studies and environmental studies as well as in science and moral science. Nirmla explained to them the stories they have read in school and discussed the moral of it.
In Maths, Vimlesh has taught them fractions (how to add and subtract them). Also the smaller girls (1st to 4th grade) were taught how to multiply, divide, add and subtract. All of the girls had to learn tables and a competition was created to check who can learn them the fastest. A few girls were able to do them up to 20 easily. The older girls (6th to 8th grade) were taught areas and parameters of squares and rectangles. The same topics that Vimlesh has been teaching during the afternoon, Nirmla repeated after Vimlesh and the volunteers have left. She practised Addition and Subtraction with the girls.
Just a few days before the end of the month, two new girls joined the boarding home (Alfisa and Nosil). They adapted very well within a few days and seem to be well and comfortable. The other girls take good care of them.
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