Greetings from Seva Mandir!
Hope you are well. I like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now communicating with you through these project reports. I am gald to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.
We are in our monsoon season currently. Now, the rain has been pretty good lately and the area is covered with greenery which makes village visits these days very picturesque.
Today, I want to share with you the story of Ratni Bai from Majhera village. She works at home and takes care of her cattle. She always aspired to make some money so she can contribute towards family income. One day in one of Seva Mandir’s meetings she learnt about the self help group (SHG). All the women were encouraged with the idea of small savings every month. The women also learnt how they will be grouped, how their meetings will take place and how the leader in that group is selected.
Ratni Bai was very inspired with this idea. She initiated a group and named it “BheruBhawani”. She was a successful leader and facilitated the functioning of the group well. Soon the group members created a fund with their savings and began to give small credits to their members. Ratni Bai took a loan of Rs. 1,100 from their fund. She contributed Rs. 3,000 from her personal savings. With a total of Rs. 4,100 now, she started a small general store selling items of daily use. She did so well in her business that within a short time she purchased a flour mill. She also re-paid her loan back.
In the village people come to her flour mill and Ranti is able to make Rs. 200 every day. She is very happy with her progress and of the fact that she dared to dream. With her earnings, she has also gained respect in her family as she is a contributing member and ensuring good education to her children.
Ratni’s and so many women’s success is also a result of the supported extended by friends like you. We value our partnership with you and hope that some day you will be able to meet with strong women like Ratni in our work area.
Thank you again for your support.
With this letter, I am very happy to share with you some news and updates about the program you have been supporting.
Since we’ve launched this project on Global Giving, we have managed to raise about $12,500. With a target goal of $100,000, we still have a long way to go. As you know, women in our work area are often excluded from decision-making processes in their communities. In fact there is no platform for women to openly and freely discuss matters that are important to them. They are disadvantaged in nearly every way imaginable, and this even manifests in the most basic health indicators and education indicators: in our work area, 65% of women are malnourished, and the average literacy rate of rural women is as low as 20%.
Seva Mandir has created women's groups which are forums for women to meet and discuss their concerns. The Self Help Groups are an extension to these forums whereby women save up a little every month and use their funds for credit activities.These small loans are useful as it allows them to do away from local moneylenders as well as some of these women may start a small business to make further income.
Our staff is tirelessly working with 573 women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) comprising of over 8,200 women in 182 villages, to create a thriving network of local women who are taught basic accounting and entrepreneurial skills. These SHGs serve as a platform of mutual learning, and financial empowerment. The women in the SHGs actively engage with other local institutions to generate income for their families and create new livelihoods for themselves. Seva Mandir’s long experience in development has shown that communities that are more inclusive of women are much more likely to thrive.
Enclosed with this letter is an exceptional story of how 63 female farmers who with your support have seized an opportunity to cultivate new crops that contributed greatly to their household nutrition and income, while also reinvesting in the local ecology. We very much hope that you will enjoy reading about their progress. Thank you so much for your contributions.
This past year, in the villages of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal, the waters retained during the monsoon season (July-Aug) have given farmers the option of sowing valuable cash crops. These three villages are active in Seva Mandir’s watershed development program, which effectively combats land degradation by preventing water and soil from running off the hilly terrain. With Seva Mandir support, the three villages have also each set up their own women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs).
Together, the 63 SHG members sought to harness to improved land conditions brought about by the watershed development projects in their area. They proposed to cultivate valuable crops such as ginger, turmeric, colocassia (AKA Elephant Ears), yams (ratalu) and safed musli. The women were provided training on the cultivation of these crops, and then received loans from their local village fund to begin their project.
It was a great success. After harvest, the women took their new crops to the markets. They also were able to keep some of the crops for their own household consumption, which introduced a more diverse and nutritious diet to their families. In the end, each woman was able to pocket Rs. 1,000 – 1,500 in profit, after paying back the WDC plus an additional 10% of their loan amount. In a region where the daily per-capita consumption is less than Rs. 20 a day, this is a substantial amount!
The SHGs of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal have embodied much of what is to be aspired in true sustainable development. The women skillfully demonstrated that their empowerment can make lasting contributions to the local environment, economy, and community.
This month we bring you the story of Kolika, a woman whose life has improved because of her involvement in programs run with the help of your generous support.
Kokila lives in Kojawada village of Kherwara block with her husband, three daughters and two sons. Her husband is involved in farming and stitching work. Although Kolika spends a lot of her time taking care of her family and household, she has also always wanted to do something to support her family economically, therefore, decided to learn stitching work.
Seva Mandir organized a series of trainings for women on tailoring between 2010 and 2012. Kokila attended two of these Seva Mandir trainings and learned to stitch ladies blouses and skirts and children’s shorts and shirts. After the training, she bought a sewing machine and started her own stitching work. As a result of the additional income from her stitching work, she was able to purchase a cow of good breed and started selling milk to a dairy in Himmatnagar. At present, she earns Rs. 100 to 200 from stitching work and Rs. 100 to 200 from sale of cow’s milk.
Kokila’s earning has improved the economic condition of her family and she has even been able to help her husband in paying debts. She feels very happy with her new role in the family. She strongly supports her children getting a good education so they can be empowered like her. Her two daughters are currently studying in 11th and 9th grade and her one son is studying in 5th grade.
Thanks to your support of the Rural Women Support their Families and Villages program, women like Kokila are being empowered to increase their family income. In doing so, these women are improving not only their lives, but that of their family and villages as well.
With best wishes,
Wish you a very Happy Holiday Season!
Thank you for your continued support to our project ‘Rural women support their families and villages’.
With your support we are about to begin a new year and are excited about the hopes and challenges it will bring. And at this yearend, we would like to share half yearly progress report of this project. We have attached the half yearly progress report for you to know how exactly YOUR support is creating real change. Below is the snapshot of the progress report:
We are able to make these progresses because of YOU.
And in this holiday season you can help us make more exciting progresses by doubling the impact of your donations.
From December 1, 2012 at 12:01 am ET and December 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm ET, Global giving has created a ‘Recurring Donation Campaign’ where all the recurring donations made by you will be matched up to $100 per donor per project. We request you to sign up to a monthly donation by clicking on recurring donation of an amount that you can afford and help us to make such more progresses in coming new year.
We look forward to your support and thoughts on this report. Once again, wish you a very happy holiday season to you and your family.
I am here again to share with you happiness, light and tranquility on this Diwali from all the 8,000 rural women to save up a little every month. They have now over $ 5 millions, with which they do internal lending for their immediate needs as well as to set up a small income generation program.
Diwali is a festival of lights and candles. It symbolizes the fact that there is more good in us than bad and that we all have to keep working on it. This is what you have been doing for all these women, to stand on their feet, to help their families face difficult times and to come together through their groups and discuss concerns and unload day-to-day's ranting.
The problems in this world are endless, the struggles break us down everyday and yet we all come together to support each other. This is the message we bring from all these women of our area that you are supporting through this project.
Happy Diwali to all of you and we also wish you a great year ahead.
With warm regards,
P..S. Find more about Diwali here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali
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