Greetings from Seva Mandir.
Today I thought of sharing with you the story of how in the village of Kaloda, the sense of community fostered with the help of Seva Mandir support.
Kaloda village comprises mix caste population. Villagers are in contact with Seva Mandir since last one year and they have proposed Pastureland Development work in village meeting, making Seva Mandir as the implementing agency.
Seva Mandir started the work of pastureland development as an implementing agency under MGNREGA (a government program). Initially there were many encroachments of local villagers in pastureland site so the village group (with the help of Seva Mandir) had several meetings and got the encroachments removed after many efforts. After 2 weeks some villagers again encroached on some part of pastureland. This time village women came forward and fought with the encroachers. The womenfolk of the village not only removed the encroachment but also they got completed MGNREGA work (application, wall construction, plantation etc.) on time with quality. Maximum labour on MGNREGA work on this site were women only.
It was women’s effort that they removed encroachments and completed the pastureland work. Women asked Seva Mandir to start women saving group in their village. On their request, Village Development Group was formed in Kaloda village with a current membership of 85 households. Committee elections will be held in the village once the membership is complete. Through the efforts made by women, the pastureland is now safe and one person from village has been appointed by villagers to guard it.
As you can see, this has been an incredibly success for the villagers. Every donation helps Seva Mandir provide training and workshops so that these communities can learn how to effectively manage their own development. With your help, these communities are not simply passive recipients of aid; they are taking matters into their own hands.
Thank you so much for your help and support.
Greetings from Seva Mandir!
Hope you are well. I would like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now be communicating with you through these project reports. I am glad to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.
Today I want to share with you a story of Laxmi Bai from Shishvi village.
Shishvi village, situated in the Girwa block, hosts 300 families that are from a multi-caste origin. Seva Mandir has set up a village development fund in the village many years ago. People elect a village development committee, which facilitates the fund and development issues in the village. The interest of the fund is used for different purposes: pastureland, well-deepening, toilets construction and to providing loans to women who are members of Self Help Group (SHG). Laxmi is one such SHG member.
She invested Rs. 10,000 in her traditional family business – pottery. Previously she did not have a regular source of income. She was involved in household work and sometimes had the opportunity to work as laborer in MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act - a Government employment scheme). She always wanted to revive her traditional business but did not have enough money and courage to do so.
When she saw the possibility of taking a bit of credit from her SHG, she spoke to her father in law and explored if they could re-establish the family business which was lost due to lack of funds. Laxmi therefore, took the loan of Rs. 10,000. She began her partnership with her father in law to make pots. They bought mud and repaired their wheel to start producing clay art. Later, Seva Mandir organized training on producing different types of articles with clay.
Laxmi said “since now in the market people have access to all modern clay art, if we kept producing the traditional pitchers, we only would make business during weddings. Today the customer wants to buy different kinds of items for decoration and household use. The training therefore was timely. We now also have bought an ‘electric wheel’. Now we make an average of Rs. 2,000 per month. Now I don’t have to go for labor work. I can stay home and make an income to lead a dignified life”.
The SHGs have not only given women economic strength, it has also empowered them socially by bringing them together to discuss their socio-development concerns. These women are active in resolving issues such as doctor not showing up in the clinic, what is the minimum wage in government schemes etc. They contact Seva Mandir staff if they have further questions or seek advice how to go about resolving a particular issue. To these women, Seva Mandir is a key partner to foster development in their village Shishvi.
The success of these women is also largely due to your support. We value our partnership with you and hope that some day you will be able to visit some of these strong women like Laxmi in our work area.
Thank you again for your support.
As Seva Mandir has now helped establish over 700 village groups, this is an historical year for us. We thank you dearly for helping us get this far, and hope you will remain by our side as we continue to grow. Below is an update on our Village Institution Program, and the progress we have made in the past year (April 2012 - March 2013).
The Village Institution Program of Seva Mandir aims to create and nurture alternative and autonomous platforms through which the communities can take responsibility for their own development. The need for this program arose as a result of the limited capacity of panchayats (the most local level of the formal government) to effectively respond to community needs, fragmentation of communities over a wide variety of issues, and the lack of a developmental outlook at the village level. This program intends to create an atmosphere where the positive forces of cooperation, transparency, equity, justice, and responsible autonomy within the community can help in leading towards an overall development of their villages.
The Village Institutions Program has three components:
In brief, here are some of the main highlights from this year:
As you can see, this has been an incredibly successful year for the program. Every donation helps Seva Mandir provide training and workshops so that these communities can learn how to effectively manage their own development. With your help, these communities are not simply passive recipients of aid; they are taking matters into their own hands.
"Sangthan me takathai" (The sense of community is powerful). This month, we bring you the story of how in the village of Jamun, the sense of community fostered with the help of Seva Mandir support is very powerful. Jamun is situated in the dense forests of Aravali region and comes under Jhadol Tehsil of Udaipur district.
After participating in Seva Mandir trainings and workshops, Jamun village organized their own elected governance council. The villagers have developed a Joint Forest Management (JFM) program to protect the important forests of Jamun village. They have come to understand how important this resource is to maintain and preserve. Recently, Jamun GVC (village development committee) got information that some neighboring villagers from Umaria, Madla, Bijli and other villages were regularly cutting wet wood from forest - something which goes against the JFM regulations. Through the GVC, the village mobilized. On January 4th, the village GVC called a meeting where members explained their concern over this matter and the group made the decision to stop this illegal activity with penalty. The villagers of Jamun caught around 70 people of neighboring villages red handed while cutting wet wood. Over 70 bundles of wood were captured and taken back in the custody of GVC members. Along with this, a clear warning was issued to the caught individuals to follow the JFM rules otherwise legal action would have to be taken against them.
Seva Mandir's GVC program gives villages the tools to mobilize their community and protect the resources that are so important to their community and livelihoods. The GVC helped Jamun advocate for themselves by strongly demonstrating that breaking of JFM regulations would not be allowed. As individual members of the community, these villagers might not have had the power to protect the precious forests.
Thanks to your continued support of this program, Jamun village's message of "save the forest" can be heard widely by surrounding villages. Thank you for your help in empowering the people of Jamun village to advocate for themselves.
I am here again to share with you happiness, light and tranquility on this Diwali from all the 55,000 families you are helping through this project.
Diwali is a festival of lights and candles. It symbolizes the fact that there is more good in us than bad and that we all have to keep working on it. This is what you have been doing for all these families. The problems in this world are endless, the struggles break us down everyday and yet we all come together to support each other. This is the message we bring from these communities for you on this Diwali whose life is filled with happiness and light with all your support.
Happy Diwali to all of you and we also wish you a great year ahead.
With warm regards,
P..S. Find more about Diwali here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali
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