Oct 20, 2021

Seva Mandir- Moving Together With Farmers

Dear Friend,

80% of the people in our region live in remote rural areas far from (formal) markets, and depend mostly on subsistence agriculture, livestock rearing, forest produce and wage labour for their livelihood. 84% of the farmers are small, marginal farmers with two hectares of land or less, of which only half is fit for cultivation. Agriculture in the region is mostly rain-fed with only 23% of the cultivated area under irrigation. So most farmers are able to farm in only one season, during the monsoon period. Women constitute 72% of the agricultural workforce. 56% of households have at least one member, usually the male household head, migrating for casual labouring work away from their village to meet their household consumption and income needs. A concern for farmers in the region is also access to markets to purchase supplies for farming and animal rearing, and to sell their produce from agriculture, livestock and forests. Most markets are 10-40 km away from the villages, so transport costs are an additional burden. Without access to established markets, most farmers have no alternative but to sell their goods in their village at prices 20-50% lower than the market rate. This results in very low profits.

Seva Mandir addresses the challenges in two main ways:-

1. Improving agriculture and livestock

Seva Mandir works with farmers to enable them to utilise their farmland in the most efficient manner with the best possible agriculture practices. To utilise existing farmland to its optimal capacity, following watershed or ridge-to-valley treatment, soil and water conservation activities are undertaken to ensure the fertility of soil and enhance moisture. Irrigation facilities are also provided through water recharge, and water pumping and distribution systems, to ensure a constant supply of water for crops.

Seva Mandir provides a community-based agri-extension service through trained agriculture workers, who act as facilitators to encourage farmers to adopt the best agricultural practices.

Through various interventions Seva Mandir benefited 80,000 farmers, and improved agricultural productivity by 40-60% and livestock productivity by 30-50%.

2. Income enhancement

Seva Mandir works with farmers to increase their income by identifying critical areas in the farmers’ value chain and providing solutions. Seva Mandir uses its community-based agri-extension service model, through trained agriculture workers and agriculture experts, to support these farmers at every stage of the production cycle to ensure best results.

Through this intervention, Seva Mandir increased the annual agricultural income of around 4,500 families by INR 15,000-40,000 (USD 215-600), a 40-120% increase. Seva Mandir also helped 220 women's Self-Help Groups to undertake entrepreneurial activities, and linked 20 community groups and federations in over 40 villages to provide access to fair markets. 

Many thanks to you for all your help and support to our project. It is because of your support we have been able to help increase profits of these farmers. 


Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir team 

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir 


Oct 20, 2021

Helping and Supporting Rural Communities in Need

Dear Friend,

Thank you so much for your support to Seva Mandir and to the rural communities of southern Rajasthan. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and livelihoods. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating- millions of people lost their income sources and came into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people increased. Without the means to earn an income, many are unable to feed themselves and their families. For most, no income means no food. 

Your generosity helped us focus on the immediate needs of the people. Seva Mandir responded to the situation by undertaking the Covid Relief Work for the community which is hard hit by the pandemic.

Last Year, with the support from friends like you we had distributed 52,200 kits (Sanitation Kits 37800, Sanitary Pads 2500, Food Kits 3200, Storage Kits 4200, Safety Kits 4500).

This year our approach was different and was not only on only distributing kits. In the second phase we reached 415 villages and our awareness outreach was 2.3 lakh people, we reached 978 covid affected families, a total of 2910 food kits; 3880 sanitation kits; 678 safety kits; 64 monitoring kits were distributed. Additionally, oxygen concentrators are also being provided at the “local” Community Health Centers.

We are also developing long-term sustainable strategies to address these challenges and also working on holistic rural development programmes.

This all certainly has not been possible without your support. We greatly appreciate your trust in Seva Mandir and for supporting our project. Your support is helping us in making changes in the lives of hundreds of people in need.

Thank you so much. Stay safe and well.

Warm regards,
Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team 

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir 


Oct 7, 2021

Empowering Women During Covid

Sumi is a 36-year-old farmer who lives in Rajpur village in southern Rajasthan. The area is hilly and one of the most backward areas of the country on the human development index. Because of the low yield in revenue from traditional agricultural and animal husbandry livelihoods, families in this area have diversified their livelihood sources to include small businesses within their villages, daily wage labor in nearby urban areas, and migrant labor to other states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra state. Mother of 6 children, Sumi is a tribal woman who has been working as a farmer on her land as well as a laborer in larger farms in the neighboring state of Gujarat.

Sumi has been associated with Seva Mandir's Self Help Group for the last two years and has been a very active member of her group.

Earlier last year during Covid-19 induced lockdown, Sumi and her group encountered a new challenge. Chand, a community male approached the group for financial assistance. His family needed immediate medical support and he did not have enough savings. Since Chand was a known member of the community and very much in need, women decided to ask for his 1 beegha land as a collateral and extended him a loan of Rs.30,000 ($405).

Sumi saw this as an opportunity. After discussions in her group, it was agreed that the group should use the land for agriculture and distribute profit within the group. With the help of low-cost seeds from Seva Mandir and water from nearby sources, Sumi and her group were able to harvest 60kgs Urad (Black Gram Lentil) worth Rs 5,000 ($67). From her earlier experience of working on a large farm Sumi also hired two laborers for better yield. The harvest was sold together in the local market by Sumi and her group members.

Sumi said "We used Rs 3,000 ($40) as group savings and distributed other Rs 2,000 ($27) among women who could not get wages because of Covid. It was an experiment to try something new and we succeeded. We should not wait for anyone to help us during crisis; we already have so many resources around us".

Presently, Seva Mandir is helping more than 20,000 women run 1,476 Self Help Groups. Without your support none of this would be possible, so a heartfelt thank you goes out to you for supporting our efforts in empowering women. 

Best regards,

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir


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