Make Women in Rural India Financially Secure

by Seva Mandir

Wishing you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Thank you for your support to our project ‘Make Women in Rural India Financially Secure’.

With your support, we began a new year and are excited about the hopes and surprises it will bring. YOUR support is bringing real changes in the lives of these women.

With your support last year 665 women’s self-help groups were formed, 12 women’s resource centres were opened, 130 women were reached through income generation programme and 214 women leaders were trained. We are able to make this progress only because of the support from YOU.

We request you to sign up to a monthly donation by clicking on recurring donation of an amount that you want to give and help us to make sustainable progress in coming year.

We look forward to your continued support. Please do consider visiting Seva Mandir when possible. Once again, wish you a very Happy New Year to you and your family. 

Best wishes,

Atul Lekhra & Seva Mandir Team 

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Today I want to share with you a wonderful story about Shishvi village that just completed self-dependency project; a place forty kilometers away from Udaipur in Rajasthan. The earning source for them was agriculture, animal husbandry and natural resources and youth looked up to Udaipur for making a living. We at Sevamandir walked hand in hand with the village families and seen it evolve in 15 years. In December 2012 a project on ‘A step towards empowerment of girls and women of Shishvi village’ was started. The target group was 1500 people. In January 2014 about 70 women participated in training module to learn how to prepare good quality soaps and detergents as an income-generating activity and the entire technical and safety training was provided by Seva Mandir. Seva Mandir Self Help Groups (SHGs) were formed in the village and we through Women Economic Empowerment brought women together in saving and credit activities, eventually providing them with an opportunity to access external finances. In FY 2015-16, the annual production of detergent was 1200 Kgs yielding an annual turnover of Rs.60,000 ($900 approx.). Each woman involved with the activity, was paid Rs.1,500 ($23 approx.) out of the profits accrued after keeping 30% of the surplus in reserves and ploughing back the amount for the next business cycle. With projects like these, they could support a variety of productive activities and fulfill the immediate needs of their families and also start a small venture based on skill and thus being self dependant.

The entire process gave them a feeling of accomplishment and hopeful of at least earning some money and also in the process learning a new skill. The sample was sent for quality audits to SIMA Labs India and the happiness of villagers knew no bounds to hear that the detergent is of good texture and mild and thus will not harm clothesor hands and soil. Shishvi village is now being approached by nearby villages to learn the state of art so as to implement it in their village. The next challenge is to form a brand.It all happened because you made it happen and are an integral part of this beautiful journey. The entire group is now highly motivated. Since there is a high daily demand for detergent, it would also cover a good market.

Our capacity to create happiness is infinite. The challenges lie in bringing forth our greatest possible selves in the face of daily reality. This continual progression on self-renewal and transformation is the journey of Shishvi villagers. Thank you for your dedicated efforts to support. Please accept our deepest appreciation for all that you do. The program clearly aims to bring about social as well as economic self-reliance for both individuals and communities at the grassroots and ensure that the effects achieved through the program are long-term and sustainable.That is what we call empowerment through co-creation.

We would also like to wish you and your family a very HAPPY DIWALI.

Thank you


Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team

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Happy Manju
Happy Manju

Dear Friend,

Thank you for supporting Seva Mandir in empowering women to become financially independent. Through this update, I would like to share the inspiring story of Manju who lives in Jhabla – a small village in south of Rajasthan (India). Earlier, she used to work as a labour with her husband in the agriculture fields. Like others in Jhabla, their only source of income came from selling their sparse agricultural crops, which was not sufficient to raise the family.

Two years back she got to know about the Self Help Group (SHG) that was formed by Seva Mandir in her village. She joined the group and started doing regular small savings in her group. While attending the group meetings, she learned about small business opportunities, how to save money and manage finances.

After some time, Manju applied for a small loan of Rs. 10,000 ($150) to her SHG to start a ‘Tent House’ business in her village. To this day, no one else has sought to start an income generating activity that did not focus on agricultural farming or hard manual labour. Manju’s business sought to fill a void in the community.

With all her hard work and support from SHG, soon her small business started showing profits, in the first year, Manju was able to repay her loan with interest back to the SHG and recorded an additional earning of Rs. 12,000 ($179).

In speaking of her business, Manju has remarked that previously she had to work outside of her home to generate an income for her family, “but now [she] can say confidently that [she has] her own income source that can earn Rs. 600 ($9) for one go.” Her openness for new challenges has brought about many improvements in the village and in her own personal life. Manju’s business now has four tents, each able to gain a day’s wages of Rs. 600 and with minimal effort. She is now planning to expand her business to include music system, carpets, and chair rentals. She recently submitted another loan application to the local SHG in order to do so.

Today, many women like Manju are able to access better livelihood options through the work of Seva Mandir. Your continued support of “Make Women in Rural India Financially Secure” project enables us to help many such women like Manju help themselves. Presently, Seva Mandir organizes 627 women’s SHGs reaching 10,000 women across 168 villages of the Udaipur district in southern Rajasthan.

We could not do this work without your support. A heartfelt thank you goes out to you all.

We would love to hear your feedback and comments on our program. Please reach out to us at

With great appreciation,

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

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Villagers sitting under Manju
Villagers sitting under Manju's tent setup


Dear Friend,

Your donation directly impacts lives and empowers women like Hakri. Hakri, resides in Gojiya village, a disadvantaged village in southern Rajasthan, one of the world’s most impoverished places where people live on an average of $0.35 per day. Hakri, a housewife and mother of three, struggling to survive on her husband’s meagre labourer’s wage, was empowered through her involvement with one of Seva Mandir’s women’s groups and armed with a new found confidence and a sewing machine, she now contributes to her family’s financial security.

In Hakri’s own words:

“I wanted to provide good education to my children but my husband’s earning was not that sufficient. I came to know about the women’s group run by Seva Mandir. I find it’s authentic and safe to join.”

Hakri had sewing skills having previously attended classes at a nearby training centre and through her association with the Seva Mandir women’s group she had the support and gained the confidence to take a small loan from the group and purchase a sewing machine and open a home based shop. In only a few months Hakri has repaid the loan and is adding to the family budget.

Pictured here with her sewing machine Hakri is beaming with the confidence she has gained from this experience - both socially and financially.

Your continuing generous donations to our ‘Make Women in Rural India Financially Secure’ project enables us to help many such women like Hakri help themselves. At present Seva Mandir organises 627 women’s self-help groups with a membership of 9625 women throughout 168 villages of Udaipur district in southern Rajasthan. Without your donations we could not do it. A heartfelt Thank You once again!!

We would love to hear your feedback and comments on our program. Please do reach out to us at 


Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team

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Dear Friend,

Thank you for supporting our program to empower women. The women empowerment programme of Seva Mandir focuses on bringing women together for creating a common platform of mutual trust and support. The Self Help Group program is an extension of the Women’s Empowerment program under which, the women save up small amounts every month in groups known as SHGs (Self Help Groups). They borrow small loans from their SHGs which help overcome their dependency on traditional money lenders for petty credit needs. The SHG also allows women to set up small business for earning  like for opening a ration shop and tailor shops, buying cattle, setting up a flour mill etc. Besides the financial autonomy, the SHG extends a platform for these women to discuss social issues. It strengthens their solidarity, builds their confidence and allows them a space to unload and deliberate solutions.

At present, there are 627 women’s self-help groups with a membership of 9625 women. These groups exist in 168 villages of Udaipur district in southern Rajasthan.

During the past years various income generating initiatives were introduced to help the women of these SHGs. In the last six months following activities were conducted:

Detergent making work: Women from Shisvi village got involved in detergent making work and they produced 825 Kg of detergent, of which they were able to sell 625 Kg.

Stitching and designing work: A group of 30 women from Shisvi village were trained on stitching and designing work. Now they are working for a women enterprise and earning a good amount for their work.

Collection and sale of custard apple: Discussions were done on collection and sale of custard apple. One of the groups has expressed interest in taking up this activity and started working on this.

Fisheries work:  75 women from 6 villages are involved in fisheries work. In this period, these women sold fish for around $1,500.

We are able to introduce all these initiatives for women from rural communities only because friends like you are helping us regularly. Thank you once again for your help and support to our programme.

If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to write to me at


Atul Lekhra & Seva Mandir Team

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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Priyanka Singh
Executive Director
Udaipur, Rajasthan India

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