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Jul 14, 2020

Helping Rural Communities during Covid-19 Pandemic

Dear Friend,

Covid-19 has spread widely across India and the wide-ranging consequences of the pandemic and the lockdown have started to emerge. Our working areas of Udaipur and Rajsamand districts has seen a rise in the positive cases and are now amongst the most severely affected regions in Rajasthan.

During this period, Seva Mandir has increased relief efforts to support families living in villages and urban slums of Udaipur and Rajsamand districts. Until now, we have provided more than 50,000 relief kits for sanitation, food, storing grain and personal protection. Our comprehensive awareness campaign on Covid-19 has focused on the symptoms of Covid-19, how to protect those most at risk, quarantine methods, and more. Additionally, Seva Mandir is also coordinating with the government to support their own relief efforts.

Millions of migrant workers have embarked on a treacherous journey back to their homes, mostly to rural villages. They have lost their jobs and can no longer provide an essential means of income for their families. When they arrive home, they become an extra mouth to feed, putting pressure on already meagre household resources.

As a solution for this, we have initiated activities to provide people with locally based jobs that focus on land and water resource development. Additionally, our teams are preparing plans with farmers to arrange seeds and other inputs needed for the monsoon agricultural season. We are also reviewing our programmes and resume them gradually whilst adhering to the social distancing norms. One such story is from the village of Hamerpal, where the Village Institutions's quick and strong action is protecting the community from Covid-19.

Hamerpal is over 85 km from Udaipur city, located in the breath-taking Aravalli mountain range near the historic Kumbhalgarh fort. As with much of India, there has been a recent influx of migrant labourers returning to their rural homes after travelling, in some cases, hundreds of kilometres by foot. Not only have they lost the incomes that were so vital in supporting their families, but they also carry the risk of bringing Covid-19 back to their villages.

With the support of Seva Mandir, the Village Institution in Hamerpal, as with many other villages, began conducting health-checks of all returning migrants as soon as they arrived back in their village. Along with the panchayat (local government body), 45 families have been quarantined, and they are being provided with food, water and sanitation materials. So far, no cases of Covid-19 have been found in this area.

Many of the migrant laborers now see themselves as a burden. They have lost their job and cannot support their family financially. They are a potential source of infection, and, what is more, by returning they represent yet another mouth to feed. Seva Mandir is working in partnership with the Village Institutions to focus on providing long-term livelihood support to migrants and their families, helping them to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn. However, all families, even those not supported by a migrant laborer, are now struggling to access to the most vital necessities due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Seva Mandir's response is to help Village Institutions such as the one in Hamerpal to be vigilant in checking the health of all the families in the village and spreading awareness of Covid-19 and preventative measures. It is also delivering food and sanitation kits to be distributed throughout the communities. In Hamerpal, the Village Institution has provided 30 families with food kits containing grains, vegetables, spices and oil - enough to last five people for two weeks.

It is heartening to see the democratically elected Village Institutions facilitated by Seva Mandir are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of their communities. They are making sure the needs of their communities are met through support from the local government and Seva Mandir. The institutions are making every effort to keep the social fabric and support systems intact, and that the values of trust and cooperation among the communities continue. Now, the institution’s role is even more vital.

We are deeply grateful for your overwhelming support and messages of encouragement. Until now, over INR 6 million (USD 80,000) has been spent in providing relief. Now, it is essential that we look forward and begin the second phase of rehabilitation efforts. The economic consequences of Covid-19 are becoming apparent and the families and communities that we work with will be disproportionately affected.

We want to share with you that July 15th is the Bonus Day on GlobalGiving, donations from $100 will be matched (9:00:00 - 23:59:59 ET). The higher the donation, the higher the match! We have a long way to go and we trust that you will continuously support us.

Once again thank you for your valuable contribution. That has aided the families and communities to survive through this period of crisis till here.

Please stay healthy and keep social distancing.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir 

Links:

Jul 1, 2020

Helping Women combat Covid-19 through SHGs

Namaste,

We hope that you, your family and loved ones are safe and in good health.

The pandemic of Covid-19 has presented significant challenges to rural women. Seva Mandir’s role during this time became more important for these women and their families.

Seva Mandir has experience of more than 50 years of working with communities to transform and improve their lives – and that is no different now. Even during this pandemic, we remain committed to working with communities and helping them escape poverty.

During this period, we have increased our relief efforts to support these women and their families living in villages and urban slums of Udaipur and Rajsamand districts. Until now, we have provided around 50,000 relief kits for sanitation, food, storing grain and personal protection. Our food kit consists of onions, potatoes, grains, rice, oil, spices and salt, and in sanitation kit we are providing soaps and detergent packet, both enough to last a family of 5 for 2 weeks. Our comprehensive awareness campaign on Covid-19 has focused on the symptoms of Covid-19, how to protect those most at risk, quarantine methods, and more. Additionally, we are also coordinating with the government to support their own relief efforts. Until now, over INR 6 million (USD 80,000) has been spent in providing relief. We are regularly sharing updates of our relief efforts on our dedicated Covid-19 page on our website which you can find here.

 

Just a few months ago, Meera's mother died. She had been living under her daughter's care for many years, relying on her for every need. Meera's husband has died 25 years earlier, and, aside from her responsibility as a full-time carer, she also worked as a daily-wage labourer as a means of earning some income.

When the lockdown due to Covid-19 started, Meera's only way to earn an income was abruptly cut off. She didn't know how she was going to survive. Her only support network was her local Self-Help Group - a women-only group created and facilitated by Seva Mandir. Aware of her situation, they told her of Seva Mandir's Covid-19 relief efforts.

‘My situation is already so bad - I did not think it could get any worse.' Meera explains. ‘But then the relief kits came, and suddenly I felt like my own family is here to help.'

 

We deeply thank you for your valuable contribution. That has aided the families and communities to survive through this period of crisis till here.

We all know that the challenge is yet to be over, and the difficult times are ahead of us. Seva Mandir is unabated in its determination to continue working with its communities to find solutions for dignified lives and livelihoods. You can be part of this effort whether it is by donating directly to Seva Mandir, by spreading the word of Seva Mandir to people you know, or just by sending us your messages of support. You can give your support to our Covid-19 project by clicking here.

Once again, thank you for your unwavering support. Please stay healthy and keep social distancing.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir 

Packing Relief Kits
Packing Relief Kits
Distributing Relief Kits
Distributing Relief Kits
Maintaining Social Distancing
Maintaining Social Distancing
A member of our distribution team
A member of our distribution team

Links:

Jun 11, 2020

Protecting Farmers during Covid-19

Namaste,

Trust you and your loved ones are keeping well in these challenging times of COVID-19. The pandemic of Covid-19 has presented significant challenges to rural farmers and has highlighted their vulnerability in times of crisis.

84% of the population Seva Mandir works with are subsistence farmers who struggle to make a living from their small landholdings. These farmers’ incomes had already been under pressure in recent years, due to low commodity prices, but a good monsoon season last year had given hope to the region that they could increase their production and sell more in the markets. Then Covid-19 arrived and the situation worsened exponentially. Farmers are not able to access markets easily, and a ban on transport restricts their movements to larger villages and towns.

Seva Mandir’s role during this time became very important for these farmers and their families.

Seva Mandir has experience of more than 50 years of working with communities to transform and improve their lives – and that is no different now. Even during this pandemic, we remain committed to working with communities and helping them escape poverty.

We are distributing food kits (consisting of onions, potatoes, grains, rice, oil, spices, and salt) and sanitation kits (comprising of soap and detergent), both enough to last a family of 5 for 2 weeks. Importantly, we are also providing farmers with grain-storage kits and tarpaulins to increase the amount of food they can store – essential as the harvesting season approaches.

Until now, we have reached 45,400 families- distributing 33,300 sanitation kits3,200 food kits, 4,200 grain-storage kits and 4,700 safety kits. Over INR 6 million (USD 80,000) has been spent in providing relief. We are also aiding the government in their relief efforts.

These food and hygiene kits are a lifeline to these farmers during this time of crisis.

Meera from one of our village area says- ‘My situation was already so bad but then the relief kits came from Seva Mandir, and suddenly I felt like my own family is here to help.’

Another farmer from Kotra block says- ‘We are getting useful information from Seva Mandir on how to use this time for learning better farming practices.’

We deeply thank you for your valuable contribution. That has aided the families and communities to survive through this period of crisis till here.

We all know that the challenge is yet to be over, and the difficult times are ahead of us. Seva Mandir is unabated in its determination to continue working with its communities to find solutions for dignified lives and livelihoods. You can be part of this effort whether it is by donating directly to Seva Mandir, by spreading the word of Seva Mandir to people you know, or just by sending us your messages of support.

You can give your support to our Covid-19 project by clicking here. You can keep up to date with our efforts on our dedicated Covid-19 page on our website click here to access it.

Once again, thank you for your unwavering support. Please stay healthy and keep social distancing.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir 

Distributing Relief Kits
Distributing Relief Kits
Packing Relief Kits
Packing Relief Kits
A member of our distributing team
A member of our distributing team

Links:

 
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