Seva Mandir

Seva Mandir's mission is to make real the idea of society consisting of free and equal citizens who are able to come together and solve the problems that affect them in their particular contexts. The commitment is to work for a paradigm of development and governance that is democratic and polyarchic. Seva Mandir seeks to institutionalise the idea that development and governance is not only to be left to the State and its formal bodies like the legislature and the bureaucracy, but that citizens and their associations should engage separately and jointly with the State. The mission briefly, is to construct the conditions in which citizens of plural backgrounds and perspectives can come tog...
Jul 29, 2016

From Farmer to Entrepreneur: Manju's Story

Happy Manju
Happy Manju

Dear Friend,

Thank you for supporting Seva Mandir in empowering women to become financially independent. Through this update, I would like to share the inspiring story of Manju who lives in Jhabla – a small village in south of Rajasthan (India). Earlier, she used to work as a labour with her husband in the agriculture fields. Like others in Jhabla, their only source of income came from selling their sparse agricultural crops, which was not sufficient to raise the family.

Two years back she got to know about the Self Help Group (SHG) that was formed by Seva Mandir in her village. She joined the group and started doing regular small savings in her group. While attending the group meetings, she learned about small business opportunities, how to save money and manage finances.

After some time, Manju applied for a small loan of Rs. 10,000 ($150) to her SHG to start a ‘Tent House’ business in her village. To this day, no one else has sought to start an income generating activity that did not focus on agricultural farming or hard manual labour. Manju’s business sought to fill a void in the community.

With all her hard work and support from SHG, soon her small business started showing profits, in the first year, Manju was able to repay her loan with interest back to the SHG and recorded an additional earning of Rs. 12,000 ($179).

In speaking of her business, Manju has remarked that previously she had to work outside of her home to generate an income for her family, “but now [she] can say confidently that [she has] her own income source that can earn Rs. 600 ($9) for one go.” Her openness for new challenges has brought about many improvements in the village and in her own personal life. Manju’s business now has four tents, each able to gain a day’s wages of Rs. 600 and with minimal effort. She is now planning to expand her business to include music system, carpets, and chair rentals. She recently submitted another loan application to the local SHG in order to do so.

Today, many women like Manju are able to access better livelihood options through the work of Seva Mandir. Your continued support of “Make Women in Rural India Financially Secure” project enables us to help many such women like Manju help themselves. Presently, Seva Mandir organizes 627 women’s SHGs reaching 10,000 women across 168 villages of the Udaipur district in southern Rajasthan.

We could not do this work without your support. A heartfelt thank you goes out to you all.

We would love to hear your feedback and comments on our program. Please reach out to us at atullekhra@sevamandir.org.

With great appreciation,

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir

Villagers sitting under Manju
Villagers sitting under Manju's tent setup

Links:

Jul 29, 2016

You Helped People to Access Clean Drinking Water

Seva Mandir provided water filters to villagers
Seva Mandir provided water filters to villagers

Dear Friend,

Seva Mandir works to build 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.

The approach focuses on helping communi­ties in which all members can contribute to the process of designing solutions to local challenges. Once this forum is established, Seva Mandir helps the community to create a village fund, which is managed by a locally elected body.

Through these mechanisms, Seva Mandir encourages the communities in which it is working to take responsibility for, and own­ership of, projects which are implemented for the benefit of the entire community. This approach strengthens the community’s capacity for self-governance which is essential in order to improve daily living conditions and livelihoods on a sustainable basis.

Kaylo ka Guda village is one of Seva Mandir’s working areas. 80 families live in this village. Seva Mandir had started its programme here in the year 1979 with Adult Education Programme and after that Seva Mandir had started its various programmes with the help and participation of the community of the village. Village Institution Program is one of them.

A committee was formed in this village with the help of Seva Mandir and members were elected. After that a group meeting was organized by the committee. All the villagers had participated in the meeting. They discussed about the challenges and problems of the village, and finally come to the conclusion that getting clean drinking water is the main problem of the village.

Previously, villagers used to get drinking water from a common community well, but 4 years back that well had collapsed. So, the villagers specially women faced huge problem in getting water for their families. Everyday they had to walk half a kilometer to get drinking water for their families from a hand pump, but that hand pump was also not working properly.

Keeping this problem in mind the village committee had decided to take the matter to Seva Mandir. The committee had given a proposal to Seva Mandir, they proposed to fix the collapsed well and also to construct a water tank. They also mentioned in the proposal that the villagers will help in doing some labour work and they will also contribute a small amount.

Seva Mandir had immediately started working on this proposal. Renovation and deepening of well was done. Secondly, a water tank was also constructed for the villagers and a motor was also installed near the tank to fill water in the tank.

The committee had also assigned responsibilities to the people of the village, who will take care of the well and water tank.

Today, the villagers are happy that one of their major problem is solved and now they don’t have to walk far to get clean drinking water. Seva Mandir had also provided water filters to all the families of the village.

Thank you so much for all your support to our ‘Empowering villages in Rural India’ project. With your support Seva Mandir has been successful in creating many such communities in the tribal villages of southern Rajasthan, who are now able to stand for their common rights for the benefit of the community.

We would love to hear your feedback and comments on our program. Please do reach out to us at atul.lekhra@sevamandir.org.

Thank you

Regards

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir

Common community well during renovation
Common community well during renovation

Links:

Jul 19, 2016

"Lentil Mill Gave Farming New Vision" says Naresh

Dear Friend,

India is one of the largest exporters of Lentils, but it is an unfortunate truth that the cultivators of Lentils live a life of drudgery. They seldom got profits for their produce and were often subjected to exploitation.

With the start of the Lentil processing mill by Seva Mandir in Medi village of Kotra region, the farmers are able to draw returns of their labor and produce in a fair mechanism. Today, 10,000 farmers of southern Rajasthan are connected with the Lentil processing mill.  

A farmer at the village says, “Today every farmer in Kotra is pretty confident that his produce will get a fair price in the market.”

Naresh (name changed) is a farmer in Medi village with a small piece of land; like most others in this area, his main produce is lentils. In fact, his family has worked in the fields here for generations, cultivating this staple crop.

Compared with many others in his community, Naresh tried always to invest in good quality seeds and regular irrigation. But despite his best efforts, his family income remained low, mainly because of a lack of proper storage for his crops and problems with transport. 

Every time he wanted to sell some of his harvest, Naresh had three choices: he could travel to the market using local transport, which raised his costs; he could walk the several miles there; or he could sell his lentils through middle-men, in which case he would not receive a fair price.

Over time, the financial position of his family worsened until some were forced to leave the village in search of laborer work. But even this radical step didn’t protect them from hunger. 

The solution for this family's increasingly unstable situation came with Seva Mandir’s agriculture programme: Naresh and others from his community were given support and proper training to become co-owners of dal (lentil) mill. 

The principal aims of the project are to operate along ethical lines, guarantee proper storage for the harvests and ensure fair prices to the farmers by cutting out the middle-men. The farmers who are part of the cooperative are now able to control the process of dal (lentil) making and selling, they are guaranteed a fair market price for their crops and they receive a share of any future profits.        

Thanks to the generosity of Seva Mandir's supporters like you who made this project possible, the economic situation of Naresh's family continues to improve. As one of the farmers participating in the dal mill cooperative, he is able to support his family and provide them with a decent standard of living. 

His initial contribution to the project was 100 rupees ($2). This investment, and the support of Seva Mandir in enabling the farmers to realize the scheme, has given Naresh assurance that his efforts will bring him appropriate rewards. Indeed, with time he will be able to cultivate a little more of the land and further ensure that his large family's finances are stable. The future is now brighter for them all.

Naresh says “The lentil mill gave farming a new vision.

It is because of your support we have been able to help increase profits of these poor farmers. Thanks to your trust and support. We look forward to your support in running this mill so that the farmers eliminate drudgery from their lives.

I am also thrilled to share with you that one of our photo has been selected among top 15 in its category to feature in the Global Giving Photo Contest 2016. The organization whose photo has the most votes by noon EDT on July 22, 2016 will win and receive a prize of $1,000. Voting began on July 18, 2016 and will end on July 22, 2016. Please confirm your vote to help our project “Send a Child in India to School for a Year” by clicking on the below link:

https://www.globalgiving.org/poll/vote/?pollOptionId=998

Your one vote to this photo can bring change in the lives of many more children. Please do share this information with your Friends, Family members and colleagues. 

Thank you

Regards

Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sevamandir 

Links:

 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $40
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $65
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $195
    give
  • $390
    give
  • $400
    give
  • $780
    give
  • $40
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $65
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $195
    each month
    give
  • $390
    each month
    give
  • $400
    each month
    give
  • $780
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.