Dec 28, 2020

Bringing Back Smiles on Faces of Farmers

Dear Friend,

Let me start out by wishing you and your loved ones the season’s greetings. 

Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood in Seva Mandir’s working area, with nearly 93% of households being self-employed farming families. Unfortunately, agriculture contributes very little to household incomes and many even fail to produce enough for their own food security due to a variety of factors. The increasing population has led to a decrease in the size of landholdings, and the shortage of rainfall outside of the monsoon season makes it difficult for farmers to reap more than one crop a year. Furthering this problem is the low quality seeds and inefficient practices that lead to a decreased productivity level.

Over the past years, Seva Mandir has identified and promoted a range of activities to address the challenges of agricultural development in the area. In previous years, horticulture badis (orchards) were raised across all blocks. Saplings of various fruit trees, including gooseberry, lemon, mango and guava were planted in these badis.

With the help of Seva Mandir, Leela (name changed) developed a beautiful and productive lemon orchard on the hill behind her house. Leela proudly tells us; “I sold 200 kgs of lemons last year. Now I no longer need to migrate to far away cities to make ends meet, leaving my children behind”. This year, Leela again expects to make a good earning from her lemon orchard so that she will be able to take care of her children’s needs.

Modern experiments were also conducted in agro-forestry, in which a variety of fruits were planted in pastures and private wastelands. This experiment was being conducted throughout Seva Mandir’s region, to provide communities with increased benefits from their regenerated lands. Additionally, vegetable nurseries were created and the saplings were sold to other farmers in the area, thereby increasing vegetable consumption in tribal families (and thus their nutritional intake) whilst providing them with an opportunity to sell excess produce as cash crops.

Farmers in our region largely use the same seeds for many years or use hybrid seeds that have to be replaced constantly, resulting in low productivity. Hundreds of kilograms of seeds, including maize, black gram, sesame, kulat and green gram were supplied to farmers of various villages in order to revitalize seed supplies. New seed banks for wheat, gram, and maize were also established, providing a means to replenish and store seed varieties.

Seva Mandir has provided farmers in the region with an opportunity to revitalize depleted resources, sustain their traditional methods of production, and eventually generate new sources of income.

All this has been possible due to your consistent support and trust in us. We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us.  We have been able to benefit more than 10,000 farmers through various interventions because of you. These farmers can now grow enough food in their fields and don’t have to migrate from farming in absence of basic necessities.

Thank you once again for your support. Your support is making a huge difference in the lives of these poor farmers.

Our whole team wishes you a lot of joy and happiness during this holiday season. May the upcoming year bring new achievements and happiness for you and your family. Happy New Year.


Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

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Dec 7, 2020

Ensuring Healthy Future for Children

Dear Friend,

When 2-year-old Kamla arrived at Seva Mandir's Community-based management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) camp she was in a desperate state. Urmila and Sushila, two of the nurses who run the CMAM camps, were shocked at her awful condition and immediately rushed to her aid. Kamla weighed just 4.5kg and was only 65cm tall - far below the average for her age. She was brought by her mother and father to seek help from the nurses, and it quickly became clear that both the parents were suffering from an alcohol addiction.

Urmila and Sushila conducted various tests to assess her health, and it was found that Kamla was in the category of Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) - the most life-threatening. The nurses provided her with immediate treatment and Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF - a revolutionary method used by CMAM camps to provide food that ensures rapid weight gain in SAM children). The nurses gave medication and RUTFs to Kamla's parents to take home and told them to return to the follow-up CMAM camp 15 days later. They were given clear instructions on what to provide Kamla and how to look after her before returning to ensure that she would begin her recovery out of malnutrition.

15 days passed and Urmila and Sushila opened the follow-up CMAM camp in Kamla's village to conduct checks on children they previously treated, and they hoped that Kamla would return healthier and on the road to recovery. The day went on with children and parents reaching the camp to seek treatment - but Kamla and her parents were nowhere to be seen.

They never came. The nurses were worried that something had happened to Kamla as her condition was so extreme and they decided to find them in the village. Urmila and Sushila contacted one of Seva Mandir's community health workers who knew the family, and they made their way to Kamla's home - though what they found shocked them even more.

When they arrived at Kamla's home, they found her mother lying on the floor, drunk, and her father was nowhere to be found. The nurses managed to rouse the mother so that she was aware that they were there, and they began their follow up checks to test Kamla's health. They found that not only had her condition worsened, but that she was also suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI) and other complications. Eventually, the father arrived, and the nurses made clear that they were appalled at the condition and made immediate measures to send Kamla to the government run Malnutrition Treatment Centre (MTC) located in a hospital. The parents initially didn't want to take her, as the mother would have to be by her daughters side for at least 10 days, leaving the household to be managed just by Kamla's father. The nurses and the community health worker did not give up and they managed to persuade them to take Kamla to the MTC.

Kamla is now at the MTC, on the road to recovery. Seva Mandir's Balsakhis (women trained by Seva Mandir to provide care to children) make daily visits to her to monitor her improvement. She has already begun to put on weight and is moving in all of the right directions to escape the life-threatening effects of malnutrition.

Seva Mandir's CMAM camps are crucial in providing treatment to prevent malnourishment in the heart of villages to children who might not have the chance to seek treatment elsewhere. Urmila's and Sushila's quick thinking coupled with their comprehensive knowledge and ability ensured that Kamla will live to see another day. The nurses are hired and managed by Seva Mandir and are trained by Basic Healthcare Services (BHS), experts in rural healthcare. Their knowledge and compassion to help children are saving lives.

We have been able to do all this only with the support and motivation from well-wishers like you. So a heartfelt thanks goes to you and all our supporters.  

Our best wishes to you. Stay safe and keep social distancing.

Thanks & Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Nov 24, 2020

Moving Ahead with New Strategies

Dear Friend,

The Government of India issued a lockdown order which began on the 21st of March, 2020, to reduce the spread of Covid-19. As a result of this lockdown, all our Shiksha Kendras (Seva Mandir run bridge Schools) have been closed. Even after eight months of pandemic, the opening of our bridge schools is still under consideration. Since the Central Government allowed reopening the education institution in phases but the final decision left up to the State Government’s directives which are yet to come into light for the primary education.

The Covid-19 seriously interrupted the flow of education through centre-based teaching and learning process. Our efforts thus, become critical & essential, at the same time from retaining them in the safety net, ensuring their education, well-being, health, & hygiene, and also supporting their family as a unit to achieve the core objective of the programme.

The educational activities that involve children’ gathering is completely on hold as per the government directives. However, education is a must for the children to be remained touch with daily learning outcomes and without them; they will definitely engage into other household activities, earning livelihood and grazing domestic animals or may drop out permanently. We are devising alternative models to engage children and make some level of teaching-learning processes accessible to them through teachers-children-parents connect at present.

Our supreme focus is to keep the students in the education net, for which we are continuing the engagement with them for making the teaching and learning opportunities accessible to children. Our teachers are doing small group teachings through daily home visits and are also providing study material kit and sanitation & hygiene kit to every child. They are also providing emotional support and guidance to children to encourage them for learning.

We want to thank you for all your help and support to our programme because of which we are able to make these positive changes in the lives of hundreds of children.

We are also happy to share with you that this year we’re participating in #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that takes place December 1 this year. That’s right — following Black Friday and Cyber Monday! What better way to start getting into the holiday giving-back spirit? 

GlobalGiving is giving away $1 million to nonprofits from midnight to 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 1. The more you give, the more we get! Donations received during this 24-hour period will earn a portion of the money. That means your gift, no matter the size, will be boosted. Monthly donations are also eligible for GlobalGiving's 100% match.

We’d love if you participated with us. The best way to do that is to share our cause on social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday and to join millions of global givers on December 1 by donating at

Your donation will help in making bright, happy and safe future for hundreds of children. 


Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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