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 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:

Apr 6, 2011

You have trained people to discuss social issues

a village meeting
a village meeting

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.

My colleagues have shared with me a note on a village meeting for the project “Building Self Reliant Rural Communities” that you are supporting. I very much hope you will enjoy reading about it.

As you know this project encourages villages to work on various social, political and development issues. One of the strategies is to encourage communities to establishing norms once an issue has been identified. For example – it could be protecting the forests or overcoming the use of alcohol by introducing penalties or ensuring quality education by raising their concerns with the Government or avoiding spending more money on weddings (as a social obligation) etc.

The following incident is one such example where the local communities are attempting to establish norms to ensure ‘good’ for everyone in the society.

The tribal communities in our region are dependent on forest lands for their fodder and fuel wood needs. These forest lands are owned by the Government and therefore the villagers are only allowed to harvest grass and fruits but the felling of trees is strictly prohibited. The forest land also helps maintaining the social solidarity amongst villagers as it is a shared common property resource. Therefore protecting forests is pivotal in this region for all these various reasons.

In Alsigarh zone (big area spread in few km of radius) there has been illegal felling of trees for many years in a patch of forest that has been managed and protected by the villagers in collaboration with the Forest Department (under the Join Forest Management Scheme). The five leaders from village Peepalwas. Kheriya and Undri decided to resolve this issue. Therefore they had a meeting in January this year.

The people from Peepalwas village complained that the forest land is shared by all three villages and therefore it should be a joint responsibility of all these villages to protecting it. Since people from Peepalwas village are working towards protecting the forest but the other two villages are not helping in this process. Peepalwas demanded to resolve this issue as it has been pending since last four months and asked all villagers to follow the rule. The leaders suggested a financial penalty on the offenders after much discussion. They advised for a serious action for recurring offenders. Everyone agreed and decided to further this decision by discussing it with everyone in these villages in the next few weeks.

In addition to the aforementioned issues, the village elders also discussed how a villager’s financial status has been affected by recent high inflation rates. As a result of heavy expenditures on social obligations such as weddings and funerals the people fall into poverty. In weddings people are burdened by the additional expenses of serving alcohol. It does no good to the hosts and the guests. Weddings can be hard on a person’s financial condition because they have to incur such expenses as part of the social compulsions. The alcohol leads to health and social problems.

They also brainstormed on engaging nearby villagers on the same issue, so that this burdening norm could be checked. It was decided to stop serving alcohol during weddings in their villages and later engaging with other villages slowly on the same issue.

This meeting exemplifies changing mindsets of people over the years. It has been possible due to constant capacity building of villagers on various development issues and building awareness. This meeting quantifies the efforts put in by these communities for bringing about the social change.

Thank you so much for supporting this program. With your support these communities are raising concerns and dealing with social problems. These communities are sowing the seeds of ‘better future’ for all of us also by protecting the trees and forests.

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 encourage our new team and leadership.

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

Warm Regards

Deepti

deepti@sevamandir.org

Apr 6, 2011

Mithori received a solar lamp at rural school

Children at a rural school
Children at a rural school

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.

In the work area of Seva Mandir several villages do not have access to electricity. It may have some impact on studying after sunset.  Last year a solar light company approached Seva Mandir for solar lights in the villages. The company donated 80 solar lamps (Rs.1,600 each) to Seva Mandir.

These lamps were distributed to 80 children in four of our Blocks who are currently in rural schools. These children agreed to share the light with children from other families.

In each Block the rural schools were selected based on the fact that they were remote and do not have electricity connection. The students from these centers were chosen on the basis of their economic background, number of children per family, distance of their house from the school, availability of light in the vicinity etc. Results show that the children who were given the solar lamps are using it to study at night. This has also reduced the family’s dependence on oil for lighting lanterns. With reduced usage of oil, villagers are considering using solar lights against oil lamps.

Mithori Kumari lives in Palesar village of Kotra Block. She is attending the rural school and is good in her studies. She received the solar light a few months ago. She says that the solar light works for up to 5 hours a day. This allows her and her 2 siblings to study at night when all the household work is completed. Her mother is also happy as the solar light has meant reduced usage of oil for lighting. Their neighbors are also now thinking of having a solar lamp so as they don’t have to worry about getting an electricity connection which is very expensive.

“Send a child in India to School” is an ongoing program and we are very fortunate to have friends like you who support it regularly. We are excited every time communicating with you these stories and achievements. This project is close to its goal of raising support on Global Giving. We will be submitting a final progress report of April 2010 to March 2011 by early April this year. By that time, we would have raised the remaining goal, hopefully.

Since it is an ongoing program, we would seek your support for the next year too. We hope you will support your favorite program again and help hundreds of children to attend schools.

Thank you once again for your contribution. We are grateful to you for your continuing faith. 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

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

Links:

 
   

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