Greetings from Seva Mandir!
I was reading the New York Times today - the artcile "As New Graduates Return to Nest, Economy Also Feels the Pain" and I also read the news on the Hindustan Times "Expect relief from inflation". It is a tough time. Everywhere in the world there is unrest. The divide between the rich and poor is growing bigger. There are many interpretations and theories explaining and forecasting the future as ever. Amidst all these news and views on politics, corruption, economy downturn etc, I came across a brief story which my colleagues have written, which I also want to share with you. The story is simple but has an interesting feel of 'hope'. Somewhere very far in Udaipur (in South Rajasthan), the immunization camps that you support are helping many children and women's lives.
Amidst all of this hustle and bustle and rough time, your continuing support and faith in this program endows thousands of women and children with blessings. We are deeply grateful to you for your help. I really hope you will enjoy reading this story. Please feel free to write to me for any queries.
Thanks again and with warm regards,
Kotra Block is located at a distance of 120kms from the city of Udaipur and is one of the remotest regions in Seva Mandir’s working areas. It is completely a tribal belt with a number of villages bordering the state of Gujarat. The region sees a lot of migration to Gujarat for livelihood and also to access healthcare as there is a dearth of such facilities in the area.
Seva Mandir conducts monthly immunization camps reaching out to 33 hamlets in Kotra block. The villages chosen are those which are remote and are not covered by the government health workers. The unique features of the camps are regularity of the camps monitored through use of date & time stamped photographs of the Immunization teams at the camp sites and a non-cash incentive package to encourage demand for immunization. The camps are conducted on a fixed date every month in a centrally located place in a hamlet easily accessible to majority of the households. The camps provide complete vaccination for children aged 0-1 year, booster doses for children above one year age and ante-natal checkups for pregnant women. In addition, the camps also provide treatment & referral for childhood illnesses.
In each village hamlet, the trained Traditional Birth Attendant is responsible informing the villagers about the immunization days and gathering the children and pregnant women at the camp site on immunization day. The Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) goes around the village visiting each household to inform them about the forthcoming camp and also motivate them for immunization and antenatal care.
Immunization Camp at Sarli Naal
Sarli Naal, a village hamlet in Kotra block has its immunization camp on 21st of every month.
Atri Bai, the TBA of Sarli Naal has been working with Seva Mandir for 8 years. She narrated that before this camp, the closest one was a government run camp which was 3 kms away from this hamlet, making it difficult for the people to get their children immunized. The pregnant women too had to walk a long distance for their antenatal check ups. As a result, many of the women and children used to remain from getting immunized. Seva Mandir’s camp started in the year 2007, has come as a boon for the residents of the village as they could now get the services within a easy reach.
In the month of October 2011, the camp at Sarli Naal had 8 women who had come for antenatal checkups and seven children who had come for getting their vaccines.
Gavri, a 24 years old young mother had come to the camp for getting her seven month old son’s third dose of DPT vaccine. She had started coming to the camp when she was pregnant and had received both her tetanus shots and complete ante-natal checkups. Gavri agrees that the immunization is essential for both the mother and the child and is determined to take vaccination for her future pregnancies also.
Hope you are well. Thank you for supporting immunization of children of our region.
The monsoon has been active in Rajasthan. It has rained a little but more rains will be great. We still have another month of monsoon. Hopefully it will be a great monsoon year. The lakes in the city, however, are not full yet. The city is all green and beautiful at the moment.
I am sharing the annual report of Immunization Program that you are supporting. The report accounts detailed information on the total number of children immunized in 2010-2011, expecting mothers received tetanus shots and various other activities carried out with your support.
Following is a brief fact sheet for your quick reference –
1. A total 790 camps were conducted.
2. 1,236 children got registered to receive immunization.
3. 1,123 expecting mothers received tetanus shots.
4. 1,449 expecting mothers received ante natal care at these camps
5. Please see the enclosed report for more details.
I hope you will enjoy reading all the progress your support has afforded to these children and expecting mothers.
Many thanks to all of you for your continuing support to this program. Two stories of women who were benefitted with your support are also enclosed in the report.
We would be very happy to hear from you. Thank you once again for your generous support.
We will keep you updated about the progress of this program as well as about the monsoon.
With warm regards,
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.
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.
The immunization project that you are supporting is going very well. Two stories from the filed are give below my letter. Also a visit note written by North (volunteer at Seva Mandir) is enclosed for your reference. Though a small section from her notes has been pulled out and included in this cover note for your reference –
“The Seva Mandir Immunization camps aim to increase immunization rate in the Udaipur area. They are held monthly across the blocks to make immunizations accessible for local people. The first time that I went to the field was about two weeks after I started volunteering at Seva Mandir. I woke up at the crack of dawn to eat breakfast and get to work in order to catch the jeep to the village of Keli in the Girwa block. I was going just as an observer, so that I would feel comfortable traveling alone to the field later in my work in the Health Office. It was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning in Udaipur, as most morning are in October. The jeep ride was through gorgeous hills. I spent some of it learning about the camps from Devrani, the Health-in-Charge of Girwa block, and the rest of the time napping against the window.
The village of Keli, Girwa Block
We had arrived in the village of Keli when the paved road ended in the middle of a grassy valley between rolling hills. It was quiet and pretty deserted. There were a bunch of cows and a few people in the distance, and birds singing in the gentle breeze. We walked up a gentle hill to a small one-room building with a patio were we met Neelam, the nurse, and Govind the para-health worker, who were sitting inside on carpets on the floor. Govind pulled out a hefty medical bag and Devrani and I went through a checklist of all the things that were supposed to be available for the immunization camp. Everything was in order. The village’s Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) arrived with about ten women and their babies. There was also one very tiny and very pregnant lady. Neelam and Govind went through the babies one by one, checking their immunization cards and entries in the records from previous camps in order to give the babies the immunizations that they needed.” You can read the rest of the note in enclosed file.
Immunization is an ongoing program. We are very grateful to you for your regular support. 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.
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