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Send a Child in India to School for a Year

by Seva Mandir
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Send a Child in India to School for a Year
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Send a Child in India to School for a Year
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Dear Friend,

I hope this update finds you and your loved ones in good health. 

First of all we want to thank you for all your help and support to our project. Your continuous support gives us the confidence that we are on the right path and doing well.

COVID-19 pandemic plunges the world into a state of uncertainty but we have faith that India and the world will be able to weather this storm as we have weathered many in the past. Seva Mandir has an important role to play, and we’re working hard to help rural communities in southern Rajasthan during this time of need.

After the announcement of lockdown due to Covid-19, all educational institutes have been closed. With COVID-19 being declared as a pandemic and continuous state of lockdown in the months of March, April, and May has posed significant challenges to the ongoing projects in our work area. Though now the phase of unlock has started.

We realized that solution lies in adapting to the situation and thus continuous brainstorming sessions within the organization at different levels and outside with other organizations paved way for certain interim measures.

We have undertaken the following measures for our education programme –

  • Since all the classes and field activities were suspended during these months, so teachers were given a set of planned activities to be completed from their homes. These activities aimed at preparing lesson plans in Hindi, Mathematics and English along with making teaching learning materials.
  • Work on capacity building of teachers was done during this period through conference calls
  • Awareness program- Teachers have actively participated in raising awareness in communities about COVID-19, its spread and preventive measures. Information over phone calls is also being disseminated within the community especially to the parents of children enrolled in our bridge schools.
  • Considering the current crisis, running Bridge Schools with preventive measures of social distancing will be unfeasible. Thus, it has been planned that teachers will reach out to children in their respective hamlets with proper security measures. These children will be provided a student kit with essential stationery and worksheets which can be done independently with minimal guidance. Teachers will act as facilitators and visit regularly in order to keep these children motivated.

With these measures we have also faced some challenges –

  • Fears & doubts of the parents- which we had addressed through counseling activities & regular discussions.
  • Convincing parents for the instant continuation of education of their children.
  • Making children to catch up with the pace of learning.
  • Individual’s responsibility of taking the responsibility of every child taking their health, personal hygiene, and mental well-being into top consideration.
  • Network issues

But as it is said that problems also brings new opportunities with them, so during this time we also learned a lot.

We are also happy to share that till now through our Covid-19 Relief Programme we have provided more than 50,000 relief kits for sanitation, food, storing grain and personal protection. Our comprehensive awareness campaign on Covid-19 has focused on the symptoms of Covid-19, how to protect those most at risk, quarantine methods, and more. Additionally, Seva Mandir is also coordinating with the government to support their own relief efforts.

We are deeply grateful for your overwhelming support and messages of encouragement. Until now, over INR 6 million (USD 80,000) has been spent in providing relief. Now, it is essential that we look forward and begin the second phase of rehabilitation efforts. The economic consequences of Covid-19 are becoming apparent and the families and communities that we work with will be disproportionately affected.

Once again thank you for your valuable contribution. Please stay healthy and keep social distancing.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Namaste

The Coronavirus has brought unprecedented challenges to the world and effected the lives of thousands of people. At the time of writing, no cases have yet been reported in Udaipur as the Government ramps up preventative measures.

As an organisation, we are responsible not just for educating our employees about preventative measures and good hygiene practices, but also those who we work with, such as children in Shiksha Kendras (Seva Mandir’s Bridge Schools).

Hygiene practices, such as washing hands, are a weapon against Coronavirus. Proper hygiene practices have been are a regular part of Shiksha Kendras, so children already have the ability to combat this virus from the outset. They are being encouraged by the Shiksha Kendra teachers to use their knowledge to protect themselves and those around them. Without your support, this may not have been possible.

The Indian Government recently shut all schools until the 31st of March, and Seva Mandir has followed their advice and closed all Shiksha Kendras. This was a major decision for the organisation, as the importance of education for these children is a priority. However, considering the severity of the ongoing situation, ensuring the children and their family are healthy is most important.

As the teachers are from the remote communities themselves, they are able to check in on the children and their families to ensure that they are ok, giving advice where needed.

Thanks to your support, you have given these children and teachers and the knowledge and tools to help prevent this virus from spreading in rural and tribal communities.

We have faith that the Rajasthan, India, and the world will be able to weather this storm as we have weathered many in the past.

Please ensure to follow your local authority’s advice on how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Regards

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir team

 

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‘I owe everything to the Shiksha Kendra (Seva Mandir’s School) and my teacher. Without them, I would not have achieved what I did today’.

These are the words of Kokila, an ex-student of one of Seva Mandir’s Shiksha Kendra, who recently graduated from her 12th Standard with one of the highest marks in Udaipur District. However, 7 years ago, just enrolling into a government school seemed like an unreachable dream.

Kokila was a student in one of our Shiksha Kendras located in her home village in the remote rural and tribal area of Kherwara, around 80km from Udaipur city, where the average daily wage per-capita is just $0.50c. Her parents struggled to look after their large family of 6 children, supporting them through subsistence agriculture (as with most of the families that Seva Mandir works with). In our working area, many girls are kept home from school and instead perform household chores. But Kokila didn’t let this deter her - she was determined to get an education.

Kokila excelled and she passed through the Shiksha Kendra with flying colours.

Since 2007, more than 12,500 children have graduated into government or private schools, but even with her success, Kokila’s family’s poverty prevented her from going any further; they just could not afford to pay her school fees and continue to support themselves at the same time. For Kokila, it felt that all was lost. Her education had given her basic literacy and an understanding of maths but most of all it had started a flame inside her to learn more.

Her Shiksha Kendra teacher saw that longing inside her and he was determined to get her back into education. He made regular visits with her parents, trying to persuade them to send her back to school. Eventually, his efforts paid off and they agreed. Kokila was soon enrolled into a local government upper-primary school.

7 years later, Kokila has exceed all expectations – even her own. She is now studying in her second year of university in Udaipur and, even though she is not sure what will come next, she has become an inspiration to the girls from her remote community.

Just as with Kokila, it is vital that we support children and ensure that they can receive a quality education and your donation this Christmas can help us do just that.

Donating just $60 will provide education to a child for 1 year, and as part of GlobalGiving’s Year End Campaign, we could be eligible for bonus prizes which would help send more children to school. But we need your help to get there.

You would also be supporting a programme that has been developed alongside the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economic Science! Prof. Abhijit Banerjee, Prof. Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer partnered with Seva Mandir over a number of research projects and helped to develop a camera monitoring system for our Shiksha Kendras that greatly improved attendance of students and teachers. You can find out more here https://bit.ly/2YUO9aJ.

We would like to thank you from the bottom of our heart for joining hands with us. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best Wishes

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Dear Changemaker,

Thank you so much for all your confidence and faith in our work. We are continuously working hard to make this world a better place for children, the first step for which is providing education, as it is an investment that pays the best interest.

Kanti is from a distant village in Kotra, living with his parents and 6 younger siblings. He was attending a Shiksha Kendra (Seva Mandir’s School), and, as the eldest, Kanti wanted to be a role model for his brothers and sisters, and encouraged them to learn. However, one day, Kanti and his siblings stopped coming to class. The teacher was concerned. He decided to visit Kanti’s parents to discover why he was not coming to school – but they were not there. Both of them had left to find work in a nearby region, leaving Kanti and his siblings in the care of their uncle. Unfortunately, the uncle did not want the children to learn – instead he wanted them to work on the family farm and look after the animals. The teacher immediately contacted the parents and informed them of the situation, to which they were dismayed. After a few days, Kanti and his brother and sister re-joined the Shiksha Kendra, full of excitement and happiness to be back in school and with their friends.

Kanti is now in Level 2 at the Shiksha Kendra and is improving his learning every day. His favourite subject is Hindi and he loves to read and write short stories. Thanks to the teacher’s concern and the parent’s tenacity in educating their children, Kanti is now able to see a bright future ahead of him.

This is just one story from the many successful people that we are working with. All thanks to our most generous supporters and well wishers like you.

We are also happy to share with you that three of our photos have been selected in GlobalGiving’s Annual Photo Contest 2019 and now we need your support to win the contest. I am sharing the links to our selected photos and, if you like our photos, you can vote and help us in spreading our work to the world. Please note that the last date to vote is September 20th till 12:00:01 EDT.

Links:

1. https://bit.ly/2kPuYiP

2. https://bit.ly/2lWKUA9

3. https://bit.ly/2mfAP18

Thank you once again for all your support.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Dear Friend,

Given that poverty and lack of quality education are the key factors that lead to a child not going to school, Seva Mandir’s education program attempts to ensure primary education to the out-of-school children through Shiksha Kendras.

Shiksha Kendras are Bridge Schools run by community teachers for children aged between 6 and 14 years. The schools provide them with functional literacy and mathematics skills in rural hamlets where government schools are non-existent. The instructors in the Shiksha Kendras are from the respective local community, meaning that they already have an understanding of the local context and are able to speak the local dialects such as Mewari, Marwari or Wagdi. Currently, Seva Mandir facilitates 151 Shiksha Kendras reaching out to more than 5,300 out-of-school children aged 6 to 14. The role of the instructor is not just restricted to teaching and facilitating classes, but they are also the guiding force behind motivating the children, encouraging them to succeed and building their interest in education. This enables an attitude in the children to fall in love with education and continue their studies after they graduate from the Shiksha Kendra.

To ensure that the school is being run to schedule, teachers are required to take a photo at the start and end of each day with the entire class. The photographs are time and date stamped and then monitored by Seva Mandir. The instructors are only paid on verification of these photographs.

Dharmi is a 10 year old girl studying in Raanpur, Shiksha Kendra of Jhadol block. Dharmi’s family comprises of her parents, three brothers and grandmother. Her father had studied till 8th class and now works as a water supplier in village Ogna, while her mother farms their household land. Alongside her siblings Dharmi is encouraged to help her mother in the field and with household chores like filling water and cooking food. She specifically mentioned ‘making rotis’.

Dharmi seldom gets to play with her brothers due to her dedication and commitment to work both at home and at Shiksha Kendra. During class she is on time and an attentive student. She is able to grasp the concepts early and helps other children in the class to understand better.

When Dharmi grows up, she wants to be a police officer, or in her terms the ‘Ladies Police’. Apparently, she saw a lady in uniform at another village, since then she has had this dream to be like her. She wants to go to college and for that she knows that she has to study. We are delighted to see Dharmi embody our goals that aim in fostering a passion for education and raising children to strive for their dreams. The school provides support for children straddling high demands between home and school, encouraging a healthy balance that works for the family.

We are immensely proud of what we have achieved so far and hope to continue making a positive impact on the lives of children in southern Rajasthan. I would like to thank you for being an integral part of this journey and giving dreams to many children like Dharmi. Your support will help us reach out to more aspiring youth. None of this would have been possible without you. Thank you once again for your support and for the confidence that you have placed in us.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @sevamandir
Project Leader:
Ronak Shah
Udaipur, Rajasthan (INDIA) India
$607,956 raised of $650,000 goal
 
10,421 donations
$42,044 to go
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