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...
Dec 14, 2010

You have helped Meethalal to count till 100

Meethalal with his teacher
Meethalal with his teacher

Dear Friends, Happy Holiday Season! Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. This year the winter has started a little later here but it is pleasantly cold right now. We hope it is also nice weather where you are. I am sharing the half yearly report (April to September 2010) which my colleagues have prepared for you with much enthusiasm and gratitude. With this letter we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to you for all your support to this project. During these six months a lot of work was done and on many occasions the village communities and the students have come together to exhibit their solidarity on the issues of Education in our region. In the report one such incidence of village Chhali is narrated. I hope you will enjoy reading more about it. By September 2010 we were running 192 schools with 208 teachers. Total enrollment has been 5,703 with 3,310 boys and 2,393 girls. 227 teachers were enrolled for the certification course which is an in-depth training course for the teachers that Seva Mandir offers in the project you are supporting. However, this year, the village communities also selected some teachers from the Government Schools. This shows that the investments in teachers made by Seva Mandir are of great value in the local community and people are able to see positive impact on their children’s learning. More than 1000 children got enrolled in Government schools this year after graduating from Seva Mandir supported Rural Schools (SKs). We are very excited to share all the progress we have made. We believe that our success is your success. We are delighted sharing it with you and we hope you are also glad to hear about it. Thank you for being a wonderful partner to us. We hope to continue receiving your support as your contribution and support brings us a lot of strength and positive energy. Do consider to donate to us again and tell your friends about this project. Thank you very much once again. A small story at the end of my letter is given for your reference. I hope this holiday season is the best of all you have had so far. With warm regards, Deepti ------------- In Losing Dhana village the Government School was located 2 kms away. During monsoon it was even more difficult for children to walk to it as the stream in the village divided it into two halves. Considering these hardships the village community proposed to open a rural school in their neighborhood. Therefore, Seva Mandir supported the rural community to set up an SK in 2004. At present there are 22 children enrolled in the centre, including 11 boys’ and 11 girls. The SK is run by a local instructor, Premlata, who has studied till class 8th. She teaches children with lot of care and attention, and makes sure that the environment is child friendly and comfortable. One of the students at this centre is Meethalal Rawat (12 years old). He came to this centre in 2009. He had passed out of the Government school in Losing Dhana from class 5th, but could hardly read any letter in Hindi nor could count till 20. After 1 ½ years now at this centre he can now count till 100, can do basic mathematic calculations and read and write small sentences in Hindi. As per the instructor he is friendly to all his classmates and is much disciplined. He loves playing cricket and Kabaddi (Indian sport) too. Lakshmi (12 years old) another student at this centre also studied in government school till 4th class. After realizing that she has not learnt much in 4 years, her parents enrolled her with the SK in 2008. Now after spending 2 years her academic performance has improved drastically. She can read and write sentences, count till 100 and can do basic ma thematic calculations. She enjoys reciting poems in the class. She works hard and is very bright. She dreams to be a teacher in future.

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Sep 16, 2010

Colorful fishes makes money for rural women, India

ornamental fishes in cemented fish tanks
ornamental fishes in cemented fish tanks

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your continuing support to the rural women of our region. With this letter, I would like to share with you a story of the ornamental fishery that women in Kaya village are doing.

However, before the story, we want you to know something about our monsoon. You will be very happy to note that the monsoon has turned out very good in Rajasthan this year. It has rained almost every day this monsoon which is unusual to our region. Usually we receive 20 rainy days in the monsoon. One of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has filled up fully with lots of rain water and is currently over flowing. In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is very happy. Hopefully we will have a good harvest of crops this year. The maize is the major crop and is currently growing in all the fields.

The women in Kaya wanted to help their families by supplementing extra income. The self help group (SHG) thought of starting a small business and therefore they started rearing ornamental fishes. The ornamental fished are in high demand in Udaipur. About Rs. 8 lakh (USD 16,667) worth fishes are sold in Udaipur every year. The Department of Fisheries of Mohanlal Sukhadia University in Udaipur was willing to provide the necessary support under their “Mega Seed Project”, supported by Indian Council for Agriculture Research.

Of the 6 SHGs, thirteen women decided to take up the project in 2006. They participated in a ten day training organized by the Department of Fisheries to learn about fish rearing, construction and maintenance of fish tanks, netting, etc. On completion of the training each of them were given 200 fish seeds. A buy-back arrangement had been agreed upon with the department who in turn sell them to dealers in Udaipur. Young boys from the village, who are children of the SHG members, have also been trained on aquarium fabrication, management and handling of ornamental fishes, and they provide the necessary support to women in rearing and in selling fish directly in the open market.

In the beginning women would dig up a pit in the ground in their field and would rear the fishes but eventually they realized that a kaccha pit (un-cemented) in the ground was a big challenge to manage. It also had a negative impact on the desired results because the seepage was high and the plastic sheet in the bottom of these pits got torn by the stones below and the rats & crabs ate up the sheets. These un-cemented tanks also got silted very soon and some tanks even collapsed. At regular intervals, the tanks need to be refilled with water. As you know water is scarce in the drought prone areas. As a result, the poor middle-aged women had to invest a lot of resources to keep their fishes alive.

It is then, when women decided to put up the cemented tanks. With help of funds raised from donors like you and Charities Aid Foundation India (CAF) the cemented tanks were built. Women also contributed 20% of the total cost (USD 521 for one tank) towards the construction of the tanks. Today thirteen women are rearing red, brown, gappi, silver and black molly fishlings in their tanks. According to an estimate last year women are able to earn between Rs. 500-1200 (USD 10-25) per member. Earlier, women were selling their fishes for Rs. 4 to 8/- but recently when I visited their village the women told me that they are selling the fished for more prices – like the golden orange fish is sold for Rs. 15 each. They are increasing their market base day-by-day and are quite happy with the progress they have made so far. Currently they are in communication with the Fishery Department to explore whether a shade over their tanks is useful and would help them yield better results.

This has all been possible because of the support received from people like yourself. We will keep you posted on these women’s progress. Your donations are significant at this stage when their investments are shaping up.

It would be very encouraging if you could provide us with your comments on our feedback reports that we post on Global Giving in addition to your continuing support. It would help us improve in our communication with you. Thank you once again.

We will keep you posted on our progress.

With warm regards,

Deepti

Sep 16, 2010

You helped Narayan get the right price for his dal

inside the Dal Mill
inside the Dal Mill

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your continuing support to the rural farmers of our region. With this letter, I would like to share with you a small talk one of our colleagues had with one of the member farmers Narayan Lal of Dal Mill.

However, before I share Narayan’s talk with you, I would also like to share with you some good news. You will be very happy to note that the monsoon has turned out very good in Rajasthan this year. It has rained almost every day this monsoon which is unusual to our region. Usually we receive 20 rainy days in the monsoon. One of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has filled up fully with lots of rain water and is currently over flowing. In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is very happy. Hopefully we will have a good harvest of crops this year. The maize is the major crop and is currently growing in all the fields.

Bhanwar Lal Pargi who works in Kotra Block office of Seva Mandir recently spoke with Narayan Lal during his visit to Dal Mill in Medi village. He has recorded what Narayan has to say about his experiences about the Dal Mill program. The notes that Bhanwar Lal recorded of Narayan Lal are presented below for your reference –

“Naryanlal has been associated with the Dal mill for months now. Earlier his fellow villagers were hesitant to join hands, but with time, today more and more farmers are selling their produce at the mill.

Before the Dal mill was set up farmers were traveling to nearby market situated in the village Kherbrahma. Along with the profit that they incurred, they had to bear expenses such as traveling cost to the village and also on selling their produce, they received the payment in installments. Farmers also faced problem of their produce being weighed incorrectly , leading to lesser return on the produce.

Narayn Lal is very happy with the setting up of the Dal mill. This year he produced 230 kilos, off which he sold 190 kilos to the mill, kept remaining for personal consumption and 8 kilos as seed for the next year crop. The profits are larger than before as he is saving on paying the middle men and traveling cost to the village Kherbrahma. Also the weighing machine at the Mill is good, hence he is getting the right price for his produce.

With more farmers now selling their produce at the mill, the turn over from the mill has increased and Medi village is gaining popularity for its being a self-reliant mill. The issue of payment being made in installments has completely been solved. All the farmers receive the payment straight away. Much excitement is visible in the village, for farmers today are free of external sources for selling their produce”.

As the talk above indicates that these farmers are happy for the right prices they receive for their dal. You have added to over-all happiness of these farmers. Many thanks to your support. Please provide us with your comments on our feedback reports that we post on Global Giving in addition to your continuing support.

Thanks and regards,

Deepti

 

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