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...
Apr 8, 2011

Laxmi is not a witch. Your support saved her life

succesor to ex Chief Executive Seva Mandir
succesor to ex Chief Executive Seva Mandir

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!!

I have three things to say before we talk about the project you are supporting.

One -we participated in a fund raising event on Global Giving UK last month. 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 fellows you are supporting are creating milestones in engaging and creating awareness towards social norms existing within these rural communities.

Shankar Lal one of the fellows is always trying to get everyone involved in addressing any social issue in his village. He would consult every member of the community door to door for building a consensus and allowing people to share their thoughts on a particular issue. He is a natural leader and is loved by his people. The Witchcraft (Dakan) is a very common social problem in his village. A number of women have been tortured and accused of being witches in our region. Shankar Lal has been advocating for dismissal of this practice.

Recently he addressed this problem when Laxmi (wife of Kanti Lal) was severely abused and tortured by her brother-in-law. The brother-in-law has been accusing Laxmi for being a Dakan for the past five years now. He claims Laxmi’s presence has impacted negatively the family. These allegations began to affect Laxmi’s physical and mental health. Shankar Lal wanted to help Laxmi because he thought this is a social problem and it needs to be addressed properly. The various trainings he had attended at Seva Mandir encouraged him to take up this issue strategically.

Shankar Lal approached the village elders and leaders to advocate Laxmi’s case. He prepared a list of all the women who had been victimized as dakan in the past. He asked all the women who were victims of Witchcraft to attend this meeting and encouraged them to speak up. Each woman shared her story and demanded help.

The village elders asked the concerned families of these women to stop torturing them. In case of any further torture (physical or mental) the families would be penalized heavily. In a couple of cases (the serious ones) the village elders lodged complaints with the police. The decision by the village elders brought some relief to these women.

Shankar Lal mobilized others in the village about this issue and is currently advocating eradication of Dakan practice. He visits home to home and tries to educate everyone about the results of this issue on woman’s physical and mental health, impact on children and the overall family economic health. Shankar lal has been successful in resolving several issues and creating awareness in his village. For Shankar Lal the struggle doesn’t end with Laxmi’s case and he is constantly working on this issue. It is very inspiring to note Shankar’s enthusiasm and sensibility.

Thank you so much for supporting Shankar Lal. It is your support that is helping several village leaders to address social issues in their own regions. We hope you will continue to support this program. Please do also consider to encourage our new team and leadership.

Happy Holi to you and your family from all of us here.

With regards,

Deepti

deepti@sevamandir.org

Apr 8, 2011

You can visit our vaccination camp with North

The nurse giving shots at the camp
The nurse giving shots at the camp

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

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.

With regards,

Deepti

deepti@sevamandir.org

The successor to ex Chief Executive
The successor to ex Chief Executive

Attachments:
Apr 6, 2011

Kanti Lal writes letter for you to say thank you

Dal being processed
Dal being processed

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!!

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.

Mr. Kanti Lal Pargi President of Nala Utpadak Sangh (Dal Mill Federation) has written a small note on the program you are supporting. It is given below (translated into English from Hindi) my letter which we hope you will enjoy reading.

Thank you so much for supporting this project. It is your support that helped these farmers to sell their produce at better prices than market and you will read in Kanti Lal’s email that due to this program, the local traders are now buying their produce at better prices which never happened before. Though there are still challenges but we hope to overcome these with your conituing support.

Thank you once again. We are grateful to your donation and hope to receive a continuous support from you in the future too. We hope that you will be able to visit/write to us. Please do consider to encourage our new team and leadership.

Happy Holi to you and your family from all of us here.

With regards,

Deepti

deepti@sevamandir.org

--------------------------

Letter from Kanti Lal -

Friends,

It has been three years since the dal mill has been operational. Not only the benefits of the mill are being enjoyed by its 86 members, but fellow farmers are now enjoying greater profits. Kanti Lal Pargi, President of Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh (Village Medi), shares with us his insights on breaking monopoly

We are operating this Dal mill and trading center for last three years and if we talk about our success than we should talk about the benefit which all the farmers of Medi are getting not us 86 members. In earlier days when dal mill was not there the farmers need to bring their produce to nearby town in Gujarat to sell or they had to sell it to the local trader who paid them very little price for their produce . Situations worsen if the farmer has marginal quantity (Generally less than 10 kg) to sell .In such cases the local traders take advantage of the fact that the farmer will not prefer to go to the town to sell this little quantity and incur a substantial amount of traveling expenses which is even more than the value of the produce to be sold. In this situation the local trader pays them just half of the price.

But when we at Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh started buying the tuar (Pigeon Pea) directly from the farmers at the same price being offered by the Mandi (market), these local trader were left with no option other than buying the tuar at the same price from the farmers. And this year we are witnessing of a strange situation these local traders are now paying even more than the mandi price. This has happened just because of our presence as there is an alternate option to the farmers to sell their tuar and creating a perfect market.

However the situation for other produce of the farmers is same as it was earlier because the local traders are still enjoying the monopoly for these produces like Black gram, Green gram, Gram, maize, wheat etc.

To combat monopoly for other produce we are also planning to start trading for Black gram, Green gram, Gram etc. also. The brainstorming is going on and let’s sees what best we can do to overcome this situation.  

Kantilal Pargi

President

Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh Medi

succesor to current Chief Executive Seva Mandir
succesor to current Chief Executive Seva Mandir

Links:

 

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