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 23, 2010

This holiday season you have 596 village groups

villagers at accountany training
villagers at accountany training

Dear Friends,

Happy Holiday Season!

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. This year the winter started a little later here but it is pleasantly cold right now. We hope it is also nice weather where you are.

Thank you for supporting the village communities of Rajasthan. Building self reliant rural communities is an essential feature of the Village Institution Program of Seva Mandir. Therefore, the Gram Vikas Kosh (GVK) or the Village Development Fund is an innovative concept of Seva Mandir, which aims to build social solidarities that enable villagers to organize themselves, express their demands and needs, and work towards their fulfilment.

This is done through the creation and management of a village level fund, formed from people’s contributions. Then the Gram Vikas Committees (GVC), democratically elected, non-party and non-religiously affiliated citizen associations are set up in villages. These committees are provided with a number of trainings in good governance, management and community leadership. These committees hold the GVKs.

Currently there are 596 Village Development Funds/corpus (GVKs) with a collective fund of approximately Rs. 3 Crores (Rs. 30 million). The village corpus is kept in both a savings account and a fixed deposit account and the interest generated from these are uttilized by the community to take care of the various developmental issues in their village.

The interest generated from the corpus is also used by the village committees to provide loans to support livelihoods, the purchase of community assets like: utensils, threshers, lift irrigation pumps etc. and the management and protection of village commons like: pasture lands, schools and community centre/hall maintenance.

Some of the committees have been extremely successful in managing their corpus funds and are paying for the services provided by the village volunteers. They are also supporting the costs for some administrative costs solely from the interest earned from their corpus. Therefore these committees are moving towards a more decentralized process of functioning by also beginning to support their own developmental activities, increasing membership of women and children in the decision  making processes.

A detailed report on the progress made in this program during the last six months (April to September 2010) is enclosed for your kind reference.

We are delighted to share the exciting progress these rural communities are making. Thank you for being a consistent partner to us.  Please take a look at the report and let us know if you have any questions. We hope you would love to read this update at this holiday season.

Many thanks once again. Happy Holiday Season to you once again from all of us here.

With warm regards,

Deepti

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Dec 23, 2010

Dalu says Thank you. You've helped her earn $ 489

Dalu with her coriander crop
Dalu with her coriander crop

Dear Friends,

Happy Holiday Season!

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. This year the winter started a little later here but it is pleasantly cold right now. We hope it is also nice weather where you are.

Thank you for supporting the village farmers and families becoming food-secure in our region. The farmers we work with are mainly dependant on agriculture and animal husbandry. These tribal farmers own very small pieces of land i.e. less than 1 ha. Udaipur is a dry and drought prone area with an average annual rainfall of 625 mm.

However, with little encouragement and support, farmers can produce vegetables all round the year. Vegetables can be cultivated on small plots of land with very little inputs. Seva Mandir is encouraging farmers to grow vegetables on both small and medium scale.

In small scale initiative we promote vegetable nurseries. A number of farmers pick healthy vegetable saplings from the nurseries. For the medium scale production, the farmers are trained to grow vegetables on an intensive and professional way, called as sabji-wadi technique (Vegetable Field). The story given below – is of an explanation of the vegetable cultivation activity.

We are also very happy to share with you a detailed report on this program. Please find enclosed a midyear progress report on Vegetable cultivation program.

It is exciting for us to share the progress with you at the time of holiday season. Thank you for being an incredible partner to us. Please consider donating again to this program at this festivity and also tell about it to your friends.

Many thanks once again. Happy Holiday Season to you once again from all of us here.

With warm regards,

Deepti

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Dalu Bai and her husband are residents of village Majera of block Kumbhalharh. They are very happy and proud farmers because they underwent training last year and subsequently cultivated coriander in their fields. Dalu Bai and her husband used to cultivate mainly the field crops for subsistence, such as Maize or Wheat if there was enough water. Dalu Bai in one of the meetings conducted by the CIG (Common Interest group) learnt more about the vegetable cultivation.

Earlier, she and her family didn’t know that it could be possible in their region as well. A technical training on vegetable cultivation organized and supported by Seva Mandir helped them know more about the various aspects of vegetable cultivation. After the training Dalu was provided with one kg of coriander seeds. She and her husband sown the seeds on 0.1 hectare of their land. Dalu Bai was able to produce 400 kg of coriander leaves. She sold her produce in the vegetable market of Udaipur and Rajsamand for Rs. 55 per kg. In the end, she earned Rs.22,000/- (USD 489). She and her family is so very happy at this income.

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Dec 17, 2010

Angelina & Brad in Rajsthan! They'd see Dall Mill?

members fixing a part in the Mill
members fixing a part in the Mill

Dear Friends,

Happy Holiday Season!

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. This year the winter started a little later but it is pleasantly cold right now. We hope it is also nice weather where you are.

Many thanks for supporting this significant program. The program has made a lot of success and has changed many lives in our region. I am writing to share with you the half yearly progress report of the Dal Mill Project that you are supporting. The report covers a very detailed description of the Mill program and how it is benefiting several farmers in the most deprived region of Udaipur District.

As you know that the farmers in Kotra (the remotest and greener region of Udaipur District) grow various kinds of pulses and lentils but the production for Tur Dal (Pigeon Pea) is much higher in this region. The Dal Mill Program provides these farmers with a profitable livelihood option by milling their raw produce and making it much more marketable and profitable product. The half yearly report enclosed gives a very nice step by step description of the raw Tur Dal that is being processed by these tribal farmers. I would like to quote those steps in my cover letter for you. But I do hope that you will take a closer look at the report enclosed and get a full picture of the progress made in the last six months –

• First, procuring the raw Tur from the farmers

• Putting the raw tur into a grading machine which separates it into three grades A, B and C. And this grading machine also separates the dust, stones and other unnecessary things from the Tur.

• Tur of “A” grade is believed to be of the best quality and grade “C” is the least. When the grading is done the upper cover of the tur is removed with the help of water and then it s left in the sun to dry.

• It is put into another machine which has different kind of filters to separates the husk and besan (the flour/powder) from the Tur.

• The tur is greased with mustered oil to remove the remaining cover of the tur and is left in the sun to dry.

• Now the refined tur is taken to another machine called “Fadka” which supposed to break the tur into two parts but it doesn’t do it in a single go. Therefore, the output is again taken to the previous machine which has filters to separate the remaining tur, besan, husk and the final dal.

• This is how the cycle goes on and on until the whole tur has been broken into two pieces which is considered as Dal.

• Now after weighing the dal, it is taken to the packaging centre, where it is packed in three kind of bags viz 1 kg, 2 kg and 5 kg bags.

• The Dal is ready to sell now.

• The other by-products like besan and husk are also sold in the local market as supplement food for animals. These two by-products are sold between Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 per kg.

These farmer’s group called Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh has recently participated in a trade fair organized by the District Authority for Development of Handicrafts and Small Scale Industry Udaipur. It was held in the town hall, from October 2 to October 11 2010. The group also displayed their stall in this far with the purpose of the sale of their Dal and to make the civilians of Udaipur aware of their organic, good quality, locally produced product. During the current year, 12954.5 kg of raw tur was procured. About 10,000 kg of tur has been processed and almost all the processed dal has been sold by the end of November 2010 this year.

The farmers are all vey excited and happy at this progress. This has all been possible because of support from people like you. We would like to thank you on behalf of all the farmers of Medi Cluster and from everyone here at Seva Mandir.

Please have a look at the report enclosed. Please consider supporting this project again during this festivity and also tell your friends about this project.

Thank you once again for all your support and faith. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

With warm regards,

Deepti

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