Fellowship Programme for Tribal Community Leaders

by Seva Mandir
Wish you a very Happy New Year 2012!
Wish you a very Happy New Year 2012!

Dear Friend,


I very much hope that you are enjoying the holiday season. From all of us here at Seva Mandir, a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you. May 2012 brings peace and success to you and to your family. We thank you for your kindness that you gift us always. With this letter, we love to share some key highlights of year 2011.


For Seva Mandir, the year 2011 has been a year of changes and success. Ms. Neelima Khetan stepped down after 12 years of her excellent leadership (total 25 years of association with Seva Mandir) in March. Ms. Priyanka Singh became our new Chief Executive in April 2011. Seva Mandir is ready to see many more years of its successful engagement with rural communities in Southern Rajasthan in her leadership.


In October, Seva Mandir became the implementing agency for the MNREGA projects for 32 sites in rural Udaipur. It is a significant achievement as well as an indicator of the faith of the 74 Panchayats in Seva Mandir’s work. These Panchayats have endorsed us to be their implementing agency for MNREGA. Of these 32 sites that were sanctioned, the work has begun on the 22 sites. Most of these sites of pastureland development and currently the building of boundary wall is going on.


In 2011, Seva Mandir has been included in two working (sub) groups –  {i) Child Survival & Development and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and ii) Girl Child} constituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to review the existing priorities, policies, strategies, programs and their implementation for fulfilling the rights of children to survival, development (including early childhood care, early learning, elementary education). Also, to highlight emerging issues and recommendations, resources allocation and utilization for Twelfth Five Year Plan of Government of India.

Several of Seva Mandir's programs have seen a maturing in the last years. For example, in the villages where Seva Mandir organized regular immunization camps, the complete immunization of children is 60%, while in comparison villages it is only 35%.


Similarly, the work on Natural Resources is yielding a lot of benefits to the poor. Every year grass worth Rs. 52 lacs (5.2 million rupees) is being harvested from the common lands developed under this program.

In April 2011, Champa Devi from Vassela village was awarded the "Woman Exemplar Award 2011". It is another reason to look back and feel joyous to see that a community member of Seva Mandir was being recognized by rest of the society for her selfless services.


We are privileged to experience exciting stories of women like Champa Devi. A big credit goes to friends like you for this. Your support has always been the source of our emotional strength. It helps us keep going with our work. It is gratifying that with your support we have been able to create spaces where ordinary people can exercise truth force to bring about social and political transformation.


We hope you will continue to be with us in future too. Your faith and untiring support is very critical to us at the moment. Especially, when national and international scenario is changing rapidly for civil societies and the definitions of ‘development’ are being re-explored.


We believe that the full and deep impact of Seva Mandir's work lies not so much in the tangible development activities that it promotes, but more in bringing the poor and rich together and enabling them to  work for the commons of building more just  and oppression free communities.


We look forward to your continuing contribution in the year 2012 too. Wish you a very bright and successful New Year.


With warm regards,



Good Crop matters
Good Crop matters

Dear Friends, Greetings from Seva Mandir! Hope you are well. Thank you for supporting the fellowship project. Your support towards this project strengthens the efforts of a number of village leaders in Rajasthan. These fellows work very hard to address social, political and ethical issues in their villages. Since many of these issues are deeply rooted in people's lives and socio-political structure, continuous and dedicated efforts are required. These efforts take a long time to show actual results and may cause emotional fatigue. Therefore your regular support and encouragement to these fellows is much appreciated. It would have been not possible for many of these fellows to fight against issues if people like yourself, were not supporting them. These kinds of development projects, as you would also agree with me, do not often receive much attention and support of people. A lot of times, we all expect quicker results. It is difficult for us to appreciate the complex solutions for issues that are complex in nature themselves. Similarly, in the whole set up of this program, the core idea is to bring communities together for issues that affect them by allowing them an opportunity to understand the nature of the issue, its implications on their lives and resolving these by expecting a change within themselves. It is a complex idea and much more difficult to bring it to reality. The even more daunting task is to find passionate people who are willing to spend their time in undertaking this challenge. Having these fellows who are willing to invest their time, energy and emotions to carry out these uphill tasks is certainly a bliss for all of us. These fellows, mostly come from an impoverish backgrounds themselves. They also belong to the same society and culture, the issues they take up from. We can imagine the struggles must be tiring for them to rub against the very people these fellows live with everyday. There must exist power structures and dynamics. On top of it, the societal change take place at a very slow pace. So thank you again, for standing by these fellows in their journey of helping themselves. It is not easy for anyone to support a difficult idea such as the fellowship project. We really are grateful to you for your regular support and hope that you will consider telling about this project to your other friends too. With this letter, I am also sharing a brief update on different kinds of trainings and workshops these fellows have attended in 2011. At the same time, I also take immense pleasure in informing you that the monsoon was wonderful this year. It rained a lot every where in Udaipur and the lakes filled up pretty quickly. As you know Udaipur is the most famous tourist attraction of Asia. Therefore, good rains assures a good tourist year. On the other hand, the rains may have not assured a good crop for "Maize (the corn)" because it rained a bit too much in some places. The corn is the major staple diet in this region. However, the positive side of the rains is that increased moisture of the ground will ensure good crops for winters. Though not most farmers are able to grow wheat and gram in winters, the overall availability of water has definitely increased due to good rains. Thanks once again for your generous support. We hope to hear from you on this feedback. With warm regards, Deepti


Business planning at community level
Business planning at community level

Dear friends,

Hope you are well. Thank you for your continuing support. We are very grateful to you donations and inputs .

Every time with our letter to you, we wish to acquaint you with Seva Mandir a bit more. In this letter, you will get to know about the process of our business planning.

Seva Mandir focuses on communities rather than on individual/s. The belief is that in order to bring about the durable changes in the society; the constructive work involving all the community members is important because social problems are complex. It therefore, takes longer but the outcomes are more sustainable and long lived. Therefore, Seva Mandir has a three pronged strategy –

1)      To create and strengthen institutions for development (at the village, organization and society levels)

2)      To enhance people’s capabilities for self-development (both at individual and community level); and

3)      To create sustainable improvements in the livelihoods base.

Our bottom-up approach allows creating stakes for every section of society to participate in their own development. We very much hope that you will enjoy knowing about our business planning phase that we are going through right now.

It has been a very hot summer here in Rajasthan this year. We are now all prepared to welcome the monsoon which should be here in the next week and half. Gradually it is getting humid day by day and we are trying not to let the rising temperatures effect us and are currently in the midst of the exciting organization wide planning process to develop our 7th Comprehensive Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan outlines the strategic direction and action-plans for Seva Mandir over the next three-year plan period (2012-2015). 

Seva Mandir has been preparing Comprehensive Plans since 1990 as a way to systematically review and evolve its near-term strategic priorities across all programmatic areas.  The process of putting together the Comprehensive Plan also serves as an opportunity for Seva Mandir to reflect upon the work we have done, examine the environment we work in and evolve our strategies accordingly, within the context of past lessons learnt and the overall long-term vision of the organization.

The process for creating the 7th Comprehensive Plan began in late 2010 and includes all levels of Seva Mandir’s tiers viz. - from the villages where we work all the way up to the Chief Executive Officer.  The Comprehensive Plan process is consistent with Seva Mandir’s bottom-up approach, with the kick-off meetings taking place at the village level with the Chief Executive present.  After these initial meetings, the staff members at the zone and block offices had an opportunity to share their thoughts, observations and information.  Using the information gathered from the field, the Programs devised their strategies for the upcoming years.  These were presented to the organization as a whole, where debate, discussion, criticism and suggestions took place.

We are now headed into the final stages of this exciting process.  Programs are incorporating the comments and suggestions into their reports, and putting the final touches in to the operating frameworks. This is an exciting time at Seva Mandir and we are really looking forward to the next few years when we can put these strategies into effect and watch the change they make.

The integrated approach allows all our partners, friends, donors and well wishers to contribute to the holistic development of our communities. Any project/program that you support for Seva Mandir is a part of this comprehensive plan. Thank you so much for regularly supporting our cause and making a difference.

We will soon be providing you with an annual report of our programs you are supporting on Global Giving. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

With warm regards,

succesor to ex Chief Executive Seva Mandir
succesor to ex Chief Executive Seva Mandir

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!!

I have three things to say before we talk about the project you are supporting.

One -we participated in a fund raising event on Global Giving UK last month. The challenge Top 10 wins challenge (1st to 14th March) required the participant projects to raise at least of £ 500 with minimum of 25 donors. Seva Mandir participated with its project “Improving Food Security for Tribal Farmers in India”. This project helps 5000 poor, marginalized farmers in rural Udaipur to have better crops and thus earn more money/food. This is done through a variety of programs including – seed bank program, using organic manure prepared with the help of earth worms (vermin-composting), growing cash crops like vegetables (preparing nurseries) for self sustenance and income generation. You would be very happy to note that this project raised £705 from 31 donors in the Top 10 Wins Challenge and therefore it won a bonus prize of £300. It is a perfect gift on this Holi for our farmers.

Secondly, on the 19th and 20th March we celebrated our festival Holi (festival of colors in India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi). The festival is also a symbol of celebrating the harvest of winter crop in our region. This festival signifies the end of our winters and beginning of summer. March is also our financial year end and therefore it is wonderful to end our year with lots of support from people like you and having a good harvest at this Holi. And

Finally, this year, at this point of time, Seva Mandir is going through some change. Our ex Chief Executive Ms. Neelima Khetan has stepped down on March 31st. She has spent 25 years with Seva Mandir and the last twelve years as the Chief Executive. The organization excelled during her time and with her leadership marked a number of achievements. Though she has left us due to our constitutional norms, we are very happy to have her as our Trustee on Seva Mandir Board. Her continuing association with Seva Mandir is very assuring for all of us. 

Ms. Priyanka Singh has taken over as Chief Executive of Seva Mandir from April 2011. She has spent over thirteen years with Seva Mandir heading Education and Health program and leading Badgaon Block (a geographical unit for our work). She has a post graduate degree in rural development from the same institute as Ms. Khetan did. She is very capable and a great person to work with. With her deep understanding of issues in rural development and support from all our friends like you, we are very much looking forward to seeing Seva Mandir keep doing its good work in the next years to come. At this point of time, we all look for your continuous support and faith for many more years of working together.

The fellows you are supporting are creating milestones in engaging and creating awareness towards social norms existing within these rural communities.

Shankar Lal one of the fellows is always trying to get everyone involved in addressing any social issue in his village. He would consult every member of the community door to door for building a consensus and allowing people to share their thoughts on a particular issue. He is a natural leader and is loved by his people. The Witchcraft (Dakan) is a very common social problem in his village. A number of women have been tortured and accused of being witches in our region. Shankar Lal has been advocating for dismissal of this practice.

Recently he addressed this problem when Laxmi (wife of Kanti Lal) was severely abused and tortured by her brother-in-law. The brother-in-law has been accusing Laxmi for being a Dakan for the past five years now. He claims Laxmi’s presence has impacted negatively the family. These allegations began to affect Laxmi’s physical and mental health. Shankar Lal wanted to help Laxmi because he thought this is a social problem and it needs to be addressed properly. The various trainings he had attended at Seva Mandir encouraged him to take up this issue strategically.

Shankar Lal approached the village elders and leaders to advocate Laxmi’s case. He prepared a list of all the women who had been victimized as dakan in the past. He asked all the women who were victims of Witchcraft to attend this meeting and encouraged them to speak up. Each woman shared her story and demanded help.

The village elders asked the concerned families of these women to stop torturing them. In case of any further torture (physical or mental) the families would be penalized heavily. In a couple of cases (the serious ones) the village elders lodged complaints with the police. The decision by the village elders brought some relief to these women.

Shankar Lal mobilized others in the village about this issue and is currently advocating eradication of Dakan practice. He visits home to home and tries to educate everyone about the results of this issue on woman’s physical and mental health, impact on children and the overall family economic health. Shankar lal has been successful in resolving several issues and creating awareness in his village. For Shankar Lal the struggle doesn’t end with Laxmi’s case and he is constantly working on this issue. It is very inspiring to note Shankar’s enthusiasm and sensibility.

Thank you so much for supporting Shankar Lal. It is your support that is helping several village leaders to address social issues in their own regions. We hope you will continue to support this program. Please do also consider to encourage our new team and leadership.

Happy Holi to you and your family from all of us here.

With regards,



Durga Kumari sends you her greetings
Durga Kumari sends you her greetings

Wishing you a very happy, prosperous and wonderful 2011. Thank you friends for extending peace, love and support to all of us in 2010. We look forward to another great year with you. Year by year, our association is getting stronger. Thank you very much for adding happiness to our lives.

A small drawing made by Durga Kumari is presented as a token of our wishes to you.

Have an awesome year ahead.

Warm regards,




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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

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

Funded Project!

Thanks to 10 donors like you, a total of $1,005 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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