Varzu is an elderly woman living in one of our working block, in southern Rajasthan.
Earlier in her life, she worked with her husband whenever and wherever possible - sometimes in the fields, sometimes as a laborer on construction sites. The work was hard, but she had no choice.
Then Seva Mandir formed a Self Help Group (SGH) in Varzu's village. She has been affiliated to it since 1994 and, over time, it has brought many improvements both to the area and to her personal situation.
Varzu is now self-employed and able to earn an average of 100 rupees a day. She says, 'When I took my first loan from the SGH I never imagined the difference it would make to my life. I have restored my ancestral home and been able to buy a grinding machine. Now I don’t have to go out to work because people come to my house for the services I'm able to offer. I'm happy that I can have an easier life in my old age.' With your support, Seva Mandir is able to help many women like Varzu earn a better livelihood and live a fairer life.
Valki is proud of the status she has achieved in recent years. ‘Before, no one knew who I was when I walked down the street. Now they know I’m a force to be reckoned with.’ Valki is a leading member of the Women’s Resource Center and, with her colleagues, has been trained by Seva Mandir in family counseling. If a husband is accused of beating his wife, the couple is asked to come and meet Valki and her team to explain the situation. If they uphold the wife’s complaint, the man is asked to promise to mend his ways.
Does it work? Quite often it does: for the man, shamed by his mistakes, the threat of public embarrassment acts as an incentive to behave better. But this is not all that Valki’s team of women does. With Seva Mandir’s help they have learned about the police and the court system and have powers to investigate suspected crimes. In this tribal area, where local customs are much stronger than the rule of national law, these women are the first port of call if there is a suspicious death. In an area where an eye for an eye or financial compensation by the perpetrator are the accepted ways of dealing with crimes up to and including murder, accusations abound, even in cases of death by natural causes, so the women play an important role in deciding when to refer a case to the authorities. In one case recently, a second wife was found to have attempted to poison her husband and wife number one. Valki’s team found her guilty and made her promise not to try again. Once more, a combination of counseling, appealing to her conscience and potential public shame has helped resolve the situation. So Valki walks proudly down the street, knowing that she is indeed an empowered citizen.
We wish to thank you for your continued support.
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Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Since 1968, Seva Mandir has worked with 360,000 people across 700 villages in southern Rajasthan, one of the world’s poorest regions, where people live on an average of USD 0.35 a day, to build cohesive and inclusive communities whose members are able to participate actively in the local decision-making which affects their daily lives.
Fostering democratic participation in the affairs of the community is the foundation for all of Seva Mandir’s interventions in the region and is a key element of its success in supporting deprived rural communities.
Seva Mandir has worked in partnership with these people, not only to improve their material well-being, but to build stronger and more ethical communities. Through its programs on governance, health, education, sustainable use of natural resources, women’s empowerment, youth development, child care and social enterprise, Seva Mandir makes a tangible and transformative impact.
At Seva Mandir, very modest amounts of money go a very long way toward improving people’s lives, and our success has been recognized through a long list of awards and partnerships with distinguished funders and the Indian government.
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Sharing with you two stories of our success:
1. In one of the working area of Seva Mandir, there were clashes between the males. Two groups were formed by them. For the past one year, there were no talks neither any social activity took place between these groups.
Seva Mandir comes to know about this and took the initiative. Self Help Groups of women were formed with the aim to provide women economic stability as well as for the regular communication between the members of the village. The women SHG works brilliantly. This resulted into the social interaction and communication among the women and males of these clash groups.
Together with Seva Mandir’s initiative and the women support, the clash groups are now settling down and things started back on tracks.
2. Dhanu from Pareda had to find work outside village to work as a laborer facing the awful prospects of leaving her three children unattended. She took a loan of INR 15,000 from her self help group to open a local ration shop at her home. Within a year she repaid the loan and interest. Now she is very much able to look after her children who attend school regularly.
Thank you for your support.
Rodi lives in a village of our Jhadol block. Rodi is 60 years old and she is a member of a self help group of this village since March, 2011. She has 3 sons among whom one is married and a daughter.
Rodi started saving with Rs. 25 per month through the self help group and now her saving has increased up to Rs.50 per month. Before joining the group, her economical status wasn’t very good as her husband was the sole breadwinner of the family and he also didn’t earn enough.
With support of the self help group, she thought of starting her traditional business of pottery but she didn’t have the initial capital. The savings collected by her group wasn’t sufficient to meet production needs of members therefore her group applied for a bank loan under SGSY scheme of government. The group was successful in getting a loan of Rs.3,12,500 from bank.
Rodi was provided a loan of Rs.50,000 from the bank loan for starting pottery business by her group. Today Rodi and her husband make and sell pots in the local as well as in Udaipur market. She earns Rs.60,000 annually from this business. Till date she has repaid more than half of her loan. Rodi has become a role model for her group members and other self help groups.
Thank you so much for your continuous support to this program.
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