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...
Sep 10, 2010

You helped them earn USD 245 and 31. Thank you.

better crops
better crops

Dear Friends,

We want you to know that we are truly grateful to you for your generous support to us every time. In this letter you will find out why we are so grateful to you.

One of my colleagues Niranjan has shared a beautiful story of two villages where the rural tribal farmers are producing the organic compost and you can see the ripple effect of it. Before I share the story I would like to share with you the good news of this year’s monsoon. The monsoon has been great so far. It rained almost every day this year which is unusual to this region. Usually we receive 20 rainy days in the monsoon. Just yesterday one of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has got filled up fully with lots of rain water. Hundreds of people are gathering around the lake to enjoy the water spill over. In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is very happy with the monsoon and greenery everywhere.

In village Gadunia and Babri we initiated the vermi-composting with some farmers. Last year, three farmers in these villages produced 110 kg of worms (earth worms to help de-compost the bio-degradable matter). These farmers had attended the trainings of Seva Mandir. After producing the compost and worms they sold one kg of worms for Rs. 100 to another 55 farmers who were interested in taking up this initiative too. The three farmers together earned Rs. 11,000 (USD 245). The 55 farmers produced between 1.5 to 5 quintals of vermin-compost early this year. One of these farmers Bhimaji was able to produce 155 kg of compost which he sold to other farmers at Rs. 9 per kilo. He earned a profit of Rs. 1395 (USD 31) which is three fold; for not only what he produced but also for all his labor and time that he invested in this entire activity.

The farmers make the earthen pits for vermin composting. The main biodegradable matter for decomposing is cow dung; agriculture waste, twigs/leaves and the earth worms decompose it into fertile dark earth. However, the earthen pits have their own limitations and termite problems. In view of this Seva Mandir supported these farmers to build cemented pits. Each farmer was given Rs. 1200 to build the cemented pits. Today these these farmers are producing even more compost and using it for their various crops – Maize, black gram and cotton. Needless to say, the production of their crops goes much higher with using the locally produced organic manure.

You have added to these farmers’ happiness. We are most grateful to your continuing support to this program. Not only these farmers are earning more money, but their crops are being grown with organic compost that they themselves produce. Many thanks from all of us here for being with us throughout.

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.

We will keep you posted on our progress. With warm regards,

Deepti

Links:

Sep 10, 2010

You supported Fellows for social change

meeting in village
meeting in village

Dear Friends,

You must be happy to see all the fellows you are supporting are engaged in a variety of social issues. Before you could find out the recent progress these fellows are making, I would like you to know some news about our monsoon. The monsoon has been great so far. It rained almost every day this year which is unusual to this region. Usually we receive 20 rainy days in the monsoon. Just yesterday one of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has got filled up fully with lots of rain water. Hundreds of people are gathering around the lake to enjoy the water spill over. In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is very happy with the monsoon and greenery everywhere.

My colleague Heerendra has written a very comprehensive report to share with you about the Fellowship Program. He is also shared two stories which you would enjoy reading. You can find his report below my letter.

Some snapshots are given below for you to scan quickly – 1. There are 16 fellows. We started with 19, but 3 left the program. 2. The second review meeting was held on 30th June 2010. 3. The main themes Fellows have taken up include women empowerment, social issues, illegal encroachments, financial restitution for a death, corruption etc. 4. Two cases of witch accusation and financial restitution are presented below. These cases were being solved by the Fellows you are supporting.

With your support these fellows are keep going with the social struggles in their respective regions. Thank you so much for bringing about the change in rural Rajasthan. We are highly grateful to your continuing support. 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 ------------------------------------------------------- Vikas Mitra Fellowship:

As you know there are 16 Vikas Mitra Fellows (friends of development). They are working in the blocks of Kotra, Kherwara, Badgaon, Girwa and Jhadol. At the start of the program there were 19 members, though three dropped out or were asked to leave for a variety of different reasons. This year the fellows worked on a number of different issues pertaining to the local areas like: mautana (financial restitution for a death), daakan (witch accusation), forest protection, illegal holdings (encroachments), tree plantation, the responsibility of citizens, NREGA (the Government employment guarantee program), legal rights, women and youth participation in panchayats (local village councils), women empowerment, violation against women, Below Poverty Line (BPL) list and right to information.

Second Review Meeting

The Vikas Mitra Fellows have been working hard and have achieved successful results over their areas of working. The second fellowship performance review meeting of the Vikas Mitra fellows was conducted on 30 June 2010 and the fellows presented a presentation of the work done over the past one and a half years. The participants of the meeting were the chief executive, fellowship program advisory committee members, and all mentors of the fellows and some of the fellows from the Kherwara block. In this meeting, the mentors shared the work done in the various villages and whether they were successful or not. The committee members were very appreciative of the work done by the fellows and discussing the work of the fellows and asking about the upcoming problems as well as their expectations from Seva Mandir in these areas.

1. Story: Issue of Mautana solved by the Fellow Heera Lal Pargi:

Seli bai (name changed) was from the village of Sawan Kyra and was married to Rata of the Mahadi village, where she lived with their three children. Rata suffered from an unknown mental illness and had been seeing a bhopa (traditional healer) for treatment, One-day Rata’s mother went to the forest to collect wood and Rata went after her with a sword to try and kill her. When Seli came to know about this, she tried to protect her but instead Rata attacked and killed her with the sword. After this, Rta hung himself to death. Upon receiving the information about their daughter’s death, Seli’s parents and some people from her village came to Mahadi to assess the situation. They then later returned with more people and started fighting and arguing over the mautana amount. They demanded Rs.10 lakhs (USD 22,222) for mautana. Upon becoming aware of the situation the Vikas Mitra fellows along with police held many long discussions with Seli’s parents to try and negotiate a lower settlement of the mautana amount. Initially her parents were not ready for any kind of negotiations as they had just lost their daughter but the fellows made them realized that Rata also died making his parents equally helpless. Finally the fellow was successful in solving this problem and the mautana amount was reduced to Rs.4 lakhs (USD 8,888). At the time of the agreement Rs. 25,000 (USD 555) was paid, while the rest of the amount was to be paid back in installments. Even though the financial demand wasn’t brought down too significantly, the intervening of Heera Lal and the Police helped in making sure that the physical violence was avoided.

2. Story: Issue of daakan (witch) solved by the fellows Savita Devi:

Through their work, the Vikas Mitra Fellows are able to address local social issues, raise awareness about these issues and make the local people aware of their rights and responsibilities. One of the important issues the fellows work on is daakan pratha (being accused of being a witch). Hari Bhai (name changed) and his 55-year-old wife, Muni Devi, lived in the village of Kalasua Phala with their 9 children. Their neighbor Gatam, used to verbally abuse and harass Muni Devi and call her a daakan (witch). He would spread rumors about her to the village, trying to destroy her reputation. He even went as far as too enter her house at night and verbally harass her. Initially Muni Devi would just ignore his insults and the rumors but over time as the harassment continued she sought the help of the Vikas Mitra Fellows. The fellow went to the panchayat Sabha (local village council meetings) to present Muni Devi’s case and seek justice. Through the help of the fellow and their collaboration with the panchayat, it was agreed that Gatam would be fined Rs. 1000 for abusing Muni Devi and calling her a witch. Furthermore any other villager found participating in similar behavior would be fined and punished as per the panchayats laws.

Sep 9, 2010

You have added more happiness during this festivity

Immunization Camp in Digawara Khurd, Kotra block
Immunization Camp in Digawara Khurd, Kotra block

Dear Friends,

The monsoon has turned out quite good this year. One of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has got filled up fully today with the rain water. It is a double bonus to all of us here with the Eid festival being celebrated in the city.

In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is happy with the monsoon. As indicated above, with monsoon many festivals are being celebrated in our country including Lord Krishna’s birthday (Janmashtami), Ramadan, Eid, Lord Ganesha’s birthday, Diwali (celebrated at the harvest time) and so on. Most of our festivals occur during monsoon and the festivity will last until winters (December to February). All in all, it is a happy time.

In addition to the festivity and a good monsoon, your support to rural children in Udaipur is another reason for us to be happy. So thank you very much for adding to our overall happiness.

With this letter, we would like to share with you a couple of stories written by one of our long-term volunteers from the US - Dodie about the work you are supporting. Below my letter you can find the two stories….

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.

Many many thanks once again for your support and help. We look forward to your continuing support to our rural children's immunization in the coming months too.

We will keep you posted on our progress.

With warm regards,

Deepti

---------------------------------- July 2, 2010, Immunization Camp in village Digawara Khurd, Kotra Block

Today, Sampa Bai’s 9-month-old son, Savi, has just finished his final immunization, the measles shot. It is his fifth visit to the Seva Mandir immunization camp, held on the second day of each month on the grounds of the primary school in his village, Digawara Khurd, in Kotra Block. He has now received his full course of immunization and is vaccinated against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertusis, tetanus, measles and polio. This camp is very close to Sampa’s home, so she and her children are able to walk there easily.

Sampa Bai went to the immunization camp during her pregnancy with Savi to receive her tetanus vaccinations. She has five other children, all of whom have been fully immunized. Since Savi has finished his full round of shots, Sampa Bai will be given a set of cooking utensils today.

Sampa Bai initially learned about the immunization camp from Dhanki Bai, the Seva Mandir-trained traditional birth attendant in her village. After Dhanki Bai performed her last delivery, in Sampa Bai’s home, she encouraged her to take her newborn baby for his vaccinations. Sampa says that she keeps bringing her children to the camp because she knows that the shots will prevent them from getting sick. -----------------------------------------

July 17, 2010

Daku Bai came to the Seva Mandir immunization camp, held in the early childhood education center in her village, for the first time. She is a couple of months pregnant with her first child and came to receive her tetanus vaccination and an antenatal care checkup. After receiving her vaccination, she had her weight checked, her hemoglobin level tested, and her blood pressure taken. As she was found to be anemic, with a hemoglobin level of only 9, she was counseled by the nurse to eat dark green vegetables and eggs, and to take iron-folic supplements from the local government health center in order to increase her hemoglobin level and decrease her risk of obstetric complications. She will return to the camp next month for another antenatal care checkup.

Sampa Bai with her 9-month old son, Savi
Sampa Bai with her 9-month old son, Savi
 
   

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