Empowering Villages in Rural India

by Seva Mandir
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India
Empowering Villages in Rural India

Seva Mandir helps villages set up Village Development Committees to focus on the needs and entitlement of the poor and marginalized sections of the community. Forming Village Development Committees and funds gives villagers a forum to discuss their immediate problems and find tangible solutions. The Committees also bring villagers together and encourage a spirit of community and solidarity.

The Village Development Committee of Pipliya was formed in September 2021, with the help and guidance of Seva Mandir. The committee worked on constructing an anicut (Water Harvesting Structure), a well and a water tank for the village. Seva Mandir supported the committee’s work in these domains. Unfortunately, in March 2022, the cable of the motor used to fill the water-tank snapped and fell into the tube-well. To discuss the possible solutions and rectify this mishap, a meeting of the Village Development Committee was called. Upon receiving the approval of all its members, the committee decided that all the families who are beneficiaries of the water-tank, would contribute some amount of money towards its repair and up-keep and to get the cable of the motor out of the tube-well. Meanwhile, ten well-to-do families contributed Rs. 1,000 ($13) each, in the name of the female heads of their households, to repair and service the water-tank. The committee then called a vehicle from outside to help them get the motor cable out of the tube-well. The owner of the vehicle was paid Rs. 8,000 ($101) and a repairman was paid Rs. 1,000 ($13) for repairing the motor. The remaining amount of Rs. 1,000 ($13) has been kept aside for servicing miscellaneous charges which might be incurred later in maintaining the water-tank. Thus, by having democratic institutions at the village level, the villagers were able to increase the quality of their lives and slowly build and maintain basic amenities for themselves in the village.

Thank you so much for all your faith and continuous support to our programme. We are happy to share that we are participating in GlobalGiving’s July Bonus Day Campaign. Donations of $100 USD and up will be matched on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, starting at 9 a.m. ET. The higher the amount, the higher will be the match. So, this is the chance to take one small action and it will have more impact on the lives of many people. We hope that you will once again support our programme.

Best Wishes,

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir team

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The village development institutions created by Seva Mandir have worked tirelessly over the years for development of natural resources. One of these efforts has been development of common pasturelands in the village. Ambavi of Badanga village in southern Rajasthan has done significant work in development and protection of pastureland in her village.

Ambavi, a member of Badanga Village Development Committee, who has crossed almost half a century of her life, was born in a poor tribal family in the economically backward village of Gail. Due to impoverished financial condition and marriage at a very early age, Ambavi was not able to attend school. After few days of her marriage, Ambavi’s husband fell ill and was paralyzed due to which the responsibility of nurturing the family fell on Ambavi tender shoulders. Before marriage, Ambavi was associated with the income generation training program in her maiden village which was started by Seva Mandir as part of a program for empowering women financially. During her association with income generation program, she was exposed to a wide range of knowledge and information which bolstered her confidence. When Seva Mandir started pastureland development program, Ambavi got associated with the program. Activities like plantation, boundary wall construction, soil and water treatment activities, groundwater conservation activities were undertaken in which Ambavi played a significant role in uniting the villagers and create a common asset for the village. As result of Ambavi’s efforts and vision, soon the villagers started getting fodder and firewood in adequate quantity from the developed pasturelands. Now her village is self sufficient and don’t have to buy fodder for cattle from outside.

In the year 2013, the pastureland was encroached upon by two influential families in the village. Under Ambavi’s leadership, the Village Development Committee invited these two families for discussions multiple times but they refused. Ambavi mobilized the women of the village to put social pressure on the two families. After repeated efforts when the encroachers refused to vacate the land, Ambavi mobilized the villagers to break the boundary wall built by the encroachers inside the pastureland area and motivated the villagers to voluntarily participate in the restoration of the pastureland.

Ambavi, a marginalized tribal villager herself, despite her own problems, has not bowed down to pressure and instead chose to face the challenges head on. She had no formal education and learnt to read and write from the village children. She works as a cook in a household and with her meager income takes care of her family. The struggle of Ambavi for protection of environment has set an example for others in the community. She is the perfect example of advocacy and collective strength of action and decision making by the Village Development Committees for better management of common property resources in the village.

With your support Seva Mandir has been successful in creating many such grass root leaders in the tribal communities who are able to stand for the common rights for the benefit of community.

Thank you for your generous support. 

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team 

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Dear Friend,

From all of us here in Seva Mandir we wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May the new year brings to you lots of love, laughter, and joy.

Rod ka Guda is a small village situated in the rocky area of Kumbhalgarh. This village consists of around 100 households with a population of 700. The village people have very few government services and have long had problems with drinking water. In addition to working on pastureland development and some soil and water conservation work, Seva Mandir has formed a Village Development Committee (VDC) as well as two women’s Self-Help Groups in the village. Seva Mandir spent INR 429,000 (just over USD 6,000) on construction of a water tank and pipeline for the villagers under the supervision of the VDC members. The VDC then negotiated with the village panchayat (local Government body), successfully securing INR 100,000 (nearly USD 1,500) towards the purchase of a pump to help them lift water to the tank.

Now the VDC is taking primary responsibility for its management and maintenance.  They have devised rules, fixed a token amount of INR 200 (just under USD 3) which each household must pay per month towards water service charges, and appointed a point person to operate the machine twice a day. The amount paid by households is being used for payment of the point person, electricity charges and other maintenance.

This case is notable for the collective effort and contribution of the VDC and also because they were able to persuade the panchayat (local government body) to play a positive role in their development.

We would like to thank you for letting us meet our commitments in the field and for all your trust in our work. Our whole team wishes you a lot of joy and happiness during this holiday season.

Best Wishes,

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Dear Friend,

While the second wave of COVID-19 that hit our country left a trail of fatalities, in addition to economic and social crises, health experts warn of a third wave.

Our experience during the second wave shows that a set of measures would help face the third wave. Strengthening of local administration, civil society organizations lending them support and their synergic work with community collectives is a potential way of overcoming the situation, when it arises.

Through our HUM SAJAG (We are Alert) initiative we aim to build a pool of trained and equipped human resource base of 6,000 frontline workers and village volunteers in 1,500 villages spread across 14 blocks of Udaipur and Rajsamand district in 100 days. Establishing collective COVID management norms in villages through active village groups, youth, community and women leaders will be a core focus of this initiative. We plan the following:

1. To provide basic safety kits, diagnostic kits and a COVID safety protocol and education material reference book to 6,000 frontline staff and village volunteers.

2. To train and build capacities of over 6,000 front line workers and village volunteers through a comprehensive training module designed in consultation with health experts, Government IEC materials and other health-based organization. The training will majorly focus on critical aspects of addressing COVID-19, its spread, home isolation, monitoring, referrals, vaccination and post COVID care.

3. Activating village groups (10-12 members from youth, village institution leaders, women committed to minimize the impact of Covid-19 in villages) to understand and establish commonly agreed community norms to increase vaccination, reduce fear and myths and isolate in case of a potential third wave.

4. We aim to support block level Community Health Centers to help improve the health infrastructure for better management of COVID-19 at block level. Earlier we have connected such donors to government for supplementing the need of Oxygen concentrators in health institutes.

5. Reaching out the areas with most vaccination hesitation in southern Rajasthan using a combination of different traditional theatre forms and music. Actors will use popular folk songs to talk about many myths and fears of vaccination.

"If I feed my child after getting vaccinated, the virus will come through milk in the child." said one of the women. Pregnant and lactating women are experiencing higher doubts and hesitation towards vaccination. Through theatre and discussion, we will try to clarify these types of concerns.

Thank you for your precious support to our programme. Your support is a source of encouragement to us during this much needed time.  

We are also happy to share with you that we are participating in GlobalGiving’s Little by Little Campaign. This is a five-day crowdfunding campaign taking place from September 13-17. All eligible donations up to $50 per unique donor per organization will be matched at 50% during the campaign. So, this is a chance to double the impact of your donation. We hope that you will support us to get matching funds for our programme and for the communities we work with.

Stay safe and healthy.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Dear Friend,

The 2nd wave of COVID-19 across India has hit us harder than the first one. The entire health system of the country is out of its breath, due to the large number of patients needing treatment. At Seva Mandir, we still believe in the importance of precaution and prevention, and the only way to reduce the burden on a health system that has already been pushed to the limits. But the worst-affected are always the underprivileged and vulnerable communities. For them prevention is very important, as treatment is a bigger challenge.

The state of Rajasthan is under strict lockdown. Udaipur and parts of southern Rajasthan are severely impacted. Unlike last year, this time the rural region has been hit hard and large numbers of patients are reported from the villages.

During this medical emergency, Seva Mandir team continues to work and support communities. We are working closely with health experts and organisations to understand needs and have taken up the response work ahead in the villages where Covid cases are surging at an unstoppable pace. Multitude of problems are witnessed causing spread of the virus such as rural patients struggling with home isolation, finding treatment close to home, arranging for food and basic amenities, misinformation and so on. An immediate and pressing need is to provide access to reliable information, counter dangerous myths regarding the disease, vaccination and treatment, and provide survival support to the vulnerable families in the rural and tribal parts of Udaipur and Rajsamand.

Seva Mandir is well placed to deliver this through its wide network of volunteers and community institutions. It is responding to this situation by undertaking the Covid Relief Work. The assessment of needs in areas of food, safety equipment, care, counselling, awareness and referral is being carried out continuously in consultation with communities and local institutions to help community withstand the adversity.

Also, Seva Mandir is implementing robust measures to protect its staff and the team of front liners who are undertaking the implementation of the relief work.

We, hence, seek your continuous support to help the rural communities withstand the impacts of the pandemic. We are aiming to provide families in rural, tribal and urban slum communities with vital relief packs to ensure they can survive this crisis. We trust that you will continuously support us. We also believe that the world will soon come out with this situation.

Thank you so much.

Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team 

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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
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Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @sevamandir
Project Leader:
Ronak Shah
Udaipur, Rajasthan India
$11,009 raised of $60,000 goal
 
200 donations
$48,991 to go
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