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

Dear Friend,

Recently, Seva Mandir was elated to welcome 2019 Nobel Laureate Prof. Abhijeet Banerjee, Economist, Director J-Pal (The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) and Mohammad Abdul Latif Jameel, Chairman and CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Group and J-Pal team. This visit was a special visit for both parties due to the exciting exchange of thoughts and ideas shared on the mutual interest in the development of rural communities in Rajasthan.

Prof. Banerjee and Seva Mandir have had a longstanding and strong relationship since 1996. The Nobel laureate has worked extensively on studying various development problems and has helped in contributing to their solutions.

The few days of their Udaipur visit were jam-packed with visits and productive discussions. The J-PAL team, along with Seva Mandir’s team, traveled to remote villages Jalpaka and Jhabla; where they were formally introduced to Seva Mandir’s initiatives including natural resources, early childcare and nutrition, women empowerment and education.

A notable highlight of the visit was Prof. Banerjee’s enthusiastic discussion at a women’s Self Help Group (SHG) regarding the growing challenges of poverty and need for climate action in vulnerable regions and communities such as theirs.

During the community discussion, Prof. Banerjee vocalized, “Climate change and water scarcity are global challenges,and it will worsen in future. In India, the rural community has vast knowledge of water related challenges and its solutions. I look forward to understanding community perspectives and suggestions on tackling the future challenges and its solutions. This democratic approach will enable us to find collaborative solutions to the future challenges.”

Thank you so much for all your faith and continuous support to our programme.

Best Wishes,

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir team

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The government of India is working very hard to eradicate poverty and illiteracy from the country and in order to achieve this, the government has launched many schemes focusing on sustainable development of underprivileged. Such schemes can be proved a milestone if executed properly. However, implementation of government schemes in a country with a population of around 1.37 billion is a cumbersome task. The lack of awareness, high illiteracy rates, poor governance and corruption leads to the failure of these schemes.

Seva Mandir is working closely with the village communities to bridge this gap in between so that the benefits can reach ground level. With the help of proper communication channels at the village level, Seva Mandir is successful in bringing awareness in communities.

Kumbhalgarh, a world heritage site has been the focus area of Seva Mandir for the past 13 years and the bond between the two has brought an impact on many lives in the area. Seva Mandir regularly provide trainings explaining the government programs and schemes in simpler terms. The trainings demonstrate the economically backward communities about government policies, financial services such as cattle and crop insurance, loan, pension and remittances and the process for availing these policies. The process involves training on application form filling, submission of application in respective department, and regular follow-ups on the application status till the motive is achieved. Team Seva Mandir keeps the applicant involved in this entire process cycle so that they can become independent for similar future tasks.

The impact of these trainings in terms of numbers is incredible. The communities received assistance for many schemes like education at primary and higher levels, health and nutrition for all, insurance for crops production, cattle insurance cover, workplace death compensation etc. The work of Seva Mandir has made people realize their rights and to take a stand for everything. Now the trained individuals from Seva Mandir have become key resources for the communities and they are encouraging the next generation as well. Apart from this, Seva Mandir keeps track of all latest schemes launched by the government of India and provide trainings accordingly.

Thank you so much for your continued support which has enabled us to keep supporting people in our villages.

Best wishes,

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

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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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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @sevamandir
Project Leader:
Ronak Shah
Udaipur, Rajasthan India
$11,129 raised of $60,000 goal
 
203 donations
$48,871 to go
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