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Jul 2, 2019

Little Steps for a Bright Future

Dear Friend,

Seva Mandir works in one of the poorest areas of India where young children are often left unattended or in the care of young siblings and are lacking nutrition, security, safety and a stimulating environment at home and outside.

The need for early child care is very high in this area. According to a survey conducted by Seva Mandir, 50% of mothers said they took their children to work with them. The health status of children is also very poor; 70% children are anaemic, and 69% children are undernourished.

In light of these issues, Seva Mandir initiated the Balwadi programme in 1984. A Balwadi is a full-day centre run by a Sanchalika (a woman from the village trained to provide pre-school and health services to the children). At present, Seva Mandir, in close collaboration with communities, is running nearly 160 Balwadi centres catering to approximately 4,000 children in Udaipur and Rajsamand districts.

Uday is a single parent to 3 children - Indra (7 years), Radha (5 years) and Lakshman (4 years) – two of who are attending a Balwadi in their remote tribal village in Jhadol block. Uday’s wife passed away in 2014 when the children were very young. Since then, all the children have attended Balwadi.

Uday works as a labourer and on his own farm to support his family. Being a single parent, he does not get time to look after his children the way he could have if he still had his wife to help him. He relies on the Balwadi to care for his children and to provide food for them during the day time, as he is unable to cook for them in the morning. His condition was well understood by the Sanchalika and she extended her full help to take care of children whilst their father worked. She ensures that they are well looked after and even waits extra hours until Uday comes back from work.

The eldest daughter, Indra, has graduated from the Balwadi but has not yet started attending school. The Sanchalika is making efforts to enrol her to the nearest Seva Mandir Shiksha Kendra (non-formal education centre).

It is due to generous support from friends like you Seva Mandir has been able to run its Balwadis. We are immensely proud of the improvements we have been able to make in the lives of these children and hope to reach out to more with your continued support. Thank you so much for your trust in us.

Warm Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Jun 24, 2019

Omkar's Story of Hope

Dear Friend,

Omkar is a small-scale farmer in Girwa block, southern Rajasthan. Agriculture is the only way he can earn a living as he has no skills which can be transferred to any other occupation. He grows wheat and maize in his field for his family’s consumption and sells the surplus. Omkar used to buy seeds from the city shops, but this was expensive because of the transportation costs. This made it hard for him to achieve a surplus. He was also heavily dependent on monsoons as there was no other water available for irrigation. Insufficient rainfall would result in crop failure. This was the reality for most farmers in the region. Because of the hilly terrain, low rainfall and lack of fertile land the farmers would struggle to even grow for their subsistence.

So Seva Mandir set up a seed bank in that area. A seed bank is a place where seeds are preserved and stored. They are situated in villages. The main objective of a seed bank is to maintain the local biodiversity of the area and provide good quality seeds to the farmers. These seed banks are funded and maintained by Seva Mandir. Farmers take good quality seeds on credit. When they harvest their crop, they repay the seed bank with 25% more than the amount of the seed taken. No cash is required and farmers are now less dependent on the market for seeds.

In addition, with the help of the farmers, Seva Mandir has set up lift irrigation in a 80:20 partnership, where 80% was contributed by Seva Mandir and 20% by 20 farmers of that area. Now Omkar‘s farm produce has doubled and he is able to sell his surplus in the market and earn a living.

Omkar is happy now and is enjoying his work. He said After Seva Mandir set up its seed bank and helped me and others to set up a lift irrigation system, things changed. Now the yield is double what it was earlier.

Thank you so much for joining hands with us! Your support is making a huge difference in the lives of these poor farmers.

Warm Regards,

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir 

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Jun 21, 2019

Healthy Kids, Healthy Future

Dear Friend,

Seva Mandir organizes community-based camps to provide Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) Children from highly-remote areas in Rajasthan, India with medical care and treatment.

Malnutrition is a significant issue effecting children throughout Rajasthan. Government data shows only 3.4% of children aged between 6 - 23 months receive an adequate diet & 61% of children are underweight. People tend not to see malnourishment as a medical problem so do not seek treatment. When they do, hospitals are located far away, and parents lose vital income when they take children for treatment. Seva Mandir’s intervention reaches children aged from 7 months to 5 years old from poor rural and tribal families. Our Doctors & nurses provide treatment for SAM children with Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Foods & routine medical care. SAM children who have larger medical complications are referred to hospitals for more intensive treatment. Seva Mandir runs 40 camps a year, providing approx. 700 children with life-saving treatment.

Lakshmi, a young and vivacious 4-year-old girl, has experience of medical care administered through Seva Mandir camps. Sharing Lakshmi’s story is her parents; Inder, her father, who is an agricultural labourer takes care, alongside his wife, of Lakshmi and her younger sister. Despite their efforts, both daughters suffer from malnutrition from combined causes of infrastructure absence and rural poverty. Lakshmi and her sister accompany each other to Seva Mandir’s camps, where vital care is given from nurses and a Balsakhi (children caretaker trained by Seva Mandir).

Like many other infants in her village, Lakshmi used to be a patient of diarrhoea caused by malnutrition through decreased nutrient absorption. She receives two daily meals from the Seva Mandir caretaker ensuring her dietary requirements are met by providing her with carbohydrates, protein, iron and other vital minerals. Now, Lakshmi weighs 12 kgs, showing she is well nourished and with continuous striving from family and nurses she will soon live a healthy and prosperous life.

Lakshmi also attends Seva Mandir’ Balwadi (pre-school) and is enjoying the start of her education. At the Balwadi, she involves herself in daily fun activities like building blocks, learning numbers, and playing with other children of her age. When asked what Lakshmi wants to be when she grows up, she answered that she would like to become a nurse. This shows Lakshmi has grown into an ambitious girl and reflects many stories of children growing up to give back to their own communities that helped them.

Thank you for your support and for the confidence that you have placed in us. Lakshmi’s story and many others like hers would not have been possible without the help of donors. Through further intervention we will see a reduction in cases of malnourishment in rural areas, along with increased awareness of early prevention. When children have recovered from malnutrition, their general health and happiness improves which in the long term will enable them to focus on their education. We run follow up systems, where Seva Mandir's community health workers will visit children who have benefited from the camps to ensure they have not relapsed into further malnourishment. 

Thank you so much.

Regards

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

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