Make Women in Rural India Financially Secure

by Seva Mandir

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Wishing you a very Happy, Prosperous and Wonderful 2014. Thank you friends for extending peace, love and support to all of us in 2013. We look forward to another great year with you. Year by year, our association is getting stronger. Thank you very much for adding happiness in so many lives.

Today I thought of sharing with you two stories, one of Kanku and another of Devli, they both are members of self help group (SHG).

(1). Kanku is a member of SHG named Shakti Mahila Samuh located in Magwas. She has studied till class 8th and has been a member of this SHG since 2001. She is unmarried and lives with her brother. While working with the SHG, she decided to start her own business of provisional store. She consulted with the other group members and they encouraged Kanku for starting the business. She took a room at rent for shop and took loan of Rs. 5000/- for buying stationary items to be kept in her store. Later, she took again an amount of Rs. 5000/- for increasing her items in the store. Now, she’s earning a profit of Rs. 10,000/- (approx.) every month and also repaying the installments and interest every month regularly. She’s very happy with her business and now looking forward to increase her number of items in the shop. The other SHG members and Kanku has realised the importance of SHG as they could get a good source of income through the interloaning system of SHG.

(2). Devli is a member of an SHG named Shakti Mahila Samuh of Mohd. Phalasiya village, since 2002. Her husband earlier worked as a laborer with other brick kilns in Ogna village. In 2008, she and her husband decided to start their own brick kiln business. Therefore she took a loan of Rs. 8000 from her SHG fund and they started their business on a small scale. Her group then applied for a loan under SGSY scheme of government and they were sanctioned Rs. 3,12,500 for different activities. The group provided Rs. 50,000 to Devli from SGSY loan for upscaling her brick kiln business. 

Devli’s family constructs 700-1000 bricks each day. They have employed three laborers to support them in their work. She herself works around three to four hours every day. Devli’s estimate is that her family earns a profit of around Rs. 25,000-30,000 per year. Though the income from this business is uncertain during rainy season, she feels that her income has still increased. In future, she plans to increase production as there is a huge demand for bricks in her area and also purchase plastic sheets to keep unburned bricks safe from rain.

Kanku and Devli always give thanks to Seva Mandir who introduced them to Self Help Group.

Once again thank you so much for your continuous support.

Have an awesome year ahead.

Warm regards,

Atul Lekhra 


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Hope you are well. Today I thought of sharing with you the story of Premi Bai Lohar who secured her livelihood with the help of self help group.

Premi Bai Lohar lives in Kagmandra, village of Semal panchayat in Badgaon block. She is a member of a self help group since January 2010. Her group comprises of 20 members. The group has been very active from the day of its inception. There has been regular inter-loaning and re-payment in the group.

The group took a loan of Rs. 2,40,000/-  from their village corpus in February 2010. Premi Bai received a loan of Rs. 20,000 from the Gram Vikas Kosh (Village Development Fund) for Meenakari business that she was involved in.

“Meenakari” is a traditional form of art which was introduced in the country by the Mughals. It is an art of enameling metals like gold, silver and copper. This form of art has been practiced in the area extensively for the past 30 years and Premi Bai and her husband have been involved in this profession since last 7 to 8 years.

They do meenakari on silver metal. They bring silver from Nathdwara, a neighboring town of Rajsamand district, which is around 80 Km from her village, do meenakari work on it and sell the finished goods in the market.

In the past, due to unavailability of money, Premi Bai and her husband were unable to buy silver in large quantity from the market, due to which they could sell lesser quantity of goods and therefore earned Rs. 4000 (approx.) per month, which was not sufficient to support their family of 7 members.

The loan of Rs. 20,000 provided a boost to their business. They were now able to buy the required raw material in bulk, as a result they could sell larger quantity of finished goods in the market.

Today, Premi Bai and her husband are earning Rs. 8000 per month (approx.) from this business and their economic condition has significantly improved.

This is one of the examples from Self Help Groups. Thank you for being beside us on our journey to development. We really appreciate the trust you have shown in us. Please do let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you again.

Atul Lekhra


Ratni Bai with her Flour Mill
Ratni Bai with her Flour Mill

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Hope you are well. I like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now communicating with you through these project reports. I am gald to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.

We are in our monsoon season currently. Now, the rain has been pretty good lately and the area is covered with greenery which makes village visits these days very picturesque.

Today, I want to share with you the story of Ratni Bai from Majhera village. She works at home and takes care of her cattle. She always aspired to make some money so she can contribute towards family income. One day in one of Seva Mandir’s meetings she learnt about the self help group (SHG). All the women were encouraged with the idea of small savings every month. The women also learnt how they will be grouped, how their meetings will take place and how the leader in that group is selected.

Ratni Bai was very inspired with this idea. She initiated a group and named it “BheruBhawani”. She was a successful leader and facilitated the functioning of the group well. Soon the group members created a fund with their savings and began to give small credits to their members. Ratni Bai took a loan of Rs. 1,100 from their fund. She contributed Rs. 3,000 from her personal savings. With a total of Rs. 4,100 now, she started a small general store selling items of daily use. She did so well in her business that within a short time she purchased a flour mill. She also re-paid her loan back.  

In the village people come to her flour mill and Ranti is able to make Rs. 200 every day. She is very happy with her progress and of the fact that she dared to dream. With her earnings, she has also gained respect in her family as she is a contributing member and ensuring good education to her children.

Ratni’s and so many women’s success is also a result of the supported extended by friends like you. We value our partnership with you and hope that some day you will be able to meet with strong women like Ratni in our work area.

Thank you again for your support.

Atul Lekhra.


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

With this letter, I am very happy to share with you some news and updates about the program you have been supporting.

Since we’ve launched this project on Global Giving, we have managed to raise about $12,500. With a target goal of $100,000, we still have a long way to go.  As you know, women in our work area are often excluded from decision-making processes in their communities. In fact there is no platform for women to openly and freely discuss matters that are important to them. They are disadvantaged in nearly every way imaginable, and this even manifests in the most basic health indicators and education indicators: in our work area, 65% of women are malnourished, and the average literacy rate of rural women is as low as 20%.

Seva Mandir has created women's groups which are forums for women to meet and discuss their concerns. The Self Help Groups are an extension to these forums whereby women save up a little every month and use their funds for credit activities.These small loans are useful as it allows them to do away from local moneylenders as well as some of these women may start a small business to make further income.

Our staff is tirelessly working with 573 women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) comprising of over 8,200 women in 182 villages, to create a thriving network of local women who are taught basic accounting and entrepreneurial skills. These SHGs serve as a platform of mutual learning, and financial empowerment. The women in the SHGs actively engage with other local institutions to generate income for their families and create new livelihoods for themselves. Seva Mandir’s long experience in development has shown that communities that are more inclusive of women are much more likely to thrive.

Enclosed with this letter is an exceptional story of how 63 female farmers who with your support have seized an opportunity to cultivate new crops that contributed greatly to their household nutrition and income, while also reinvesting in the local ecology. We very much hope that you will enjoy reading about their progress. Thank you so much for your contributions.

With regards,



This past year, in the villages of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal, the waters retained during the monsoon season (July-Aug) have given farmers the option of sowing valuable cash crops. These three villages are active in Seva Mandir’s watershed development program, which effectively combats land degradation by preventing water and soil from running off the hilly terrain. With Seva Mandir support, the three villages have also each set up their own women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs).

Together, the 63 SHG members sought to harness to improved land conditions brought about by the watershed development projects in their area. They proposed to cultivate valuable crops such as ginger, turmeric, colocassia (AKA Elephant Ears), yams (ratalu) and safed musli. The women were provided training on the cultivation of these crops, and then received loans from their local village fund to begin their project.

It was a great success. After harvest, the women took their new crops to the markets. They also were able to keep some of the crops for their own household consumption, which introduced a more diverse and nutritious diet to their families. In the end, each woman was able to pocket Rs. 1,000 – 1,500 in profit, after paying back the WDC plus an additional 10% of their loan amount. In a region where the daily per-capita consumption is less than Rs. 20 a day, this is a substantial amount!

The SHGs of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal have embodied much of what is to be aspired in true sustainable development. The women skillfully demonstrated that their empowerment can make lasting contributions to the local environment, economy, and community.


Kokila sewing
Kokila sewing

Dear Friends,

This month we bring you the story of Kolika, a woman whose life has improved because of her involvement in programs run with the help of your generous support. 

Kokila lives in Kojawada village of Kherwara block with her husband, three daughters and two sons. Her husband is involved in farming and stitching work. Although Kolika spends a lot of her time taking care of her family and household, she has also always wanted to do something to support her family economically, therefore, decided to learn stitching work.

Seva Mandir organized a series of trainings for women on tailoring between 2010 and 2012. Kokila attended two of these Seva Mandir trainings and learned to stitch ladies blouses and skirts and children’s shorts and shirts. After the training, she bought a sewing machine and started her own stitching work.  As a result of the additional income from her stitching work, she was able to purchase a cow of good breed and started selling milk to a dairy in Himmatnagar. At present, she earns Rs. 100 to 200 from stitching work and Rs. 100 to 200 from sale of cow’s milk.

Kokila’s earning has improved the economic condition of her family and she has even been able to help her husband in paying debts. She feels very happy with her new role in the family.  She strongly supports her children getting a good education so they can be empowered like her.  Her two daughters are currently studying in 11th and 9th grade and her one son is studying in 5th grade.

Thanks to your support of the Rural Women Support their Families and Villages program, women like Kokila are being empowered to increase their family income.  In doing so, these women are improving not only their lives, but that of their family and villages as well.

With best wishes,




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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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