Wednesday, September 30, 2009

30th September

Khamaghani Dear Readers,

Long time since I wrote, a lot going on over here. Thank you for taking your time in reading my blog and for encouraging me to write more.

Mumy is doing very well, she is watching her soaps and old movies on TV, Ayush is good in school, he came to me running with notebook today and said, the teacher said that he is a good student and he eats his lunch on time, doesn’t talk much to other students and concentrate on his studies, 2 weeks ago before he got punished by us, it was all opposite, Mukta was called in school and teacher said she knew everything about our family, house structure etc through Ayush who loves talking but dosnt study nor let other students concentrate learning.

Shakti is well, Mukta is happy with the Guest House, new guest coming in everyday, we have big expectation from business this year because of high recommendation in the Lonely Planet Guide Book, it holds a lot of our tourism business possibilities.

I am happy with the work in the guest house, Sambhali’s sewing centers (Corinne looking after them), the Construction of the new building for the Sambhali trust, The project in Setrawa is running well, the three new teachers in Jodhpur and Setrawa project are doing well, at this moment there are NO volunteers, Ms. Melanie was the last one few days back, still waiting for the Project final reports from some Volunteers and Literacy participants reports by Ms. Joanne Edward.

The New girls are amazing people, they are getting adjusted to the day to day routine of the trust and its projects, they are enjoying it very much

New construction for the project, the Bathroom

the big Room in place of the thatched roof

From the guest house

A New Office

After the SLT project was all about the FSD team and Stanford University self centered students. Now and than we receive their reporting. Where we are not mentioned in the reports as their hosts, instead FSD is mentioned on our work and popularity.

Monica went to Alwar city for 7 days to participate at State sports competition where her team was at 8th level of 32 district teams. We are proud of her and the achievements she has got.

Certificate of Monica

As a follow up of the Sherni Proposal, I was requested to visit the Antenna Trust in South of India (Tmil Nadu state’s Madurai city), I went there for few days and met with the Founder/Director of the Antenna Trust, one of their Donor’s Mr. Denis from Switzerland, I went with Exit Trust and Dalit Trust Founders and Directors, their teams and participants, I fall in love with this place, it was wonderful, the people were friendly and very helpful, I have learnt soo much on the SELF HELP GROUP and MICRO CREDIT programming.

Self Help Group meeting in a village near Madurai, the women were soo happy and friendly


Self Help Group meeting at the Exit Trust

It was such an eye opener, the people were soo open about their work and their ways of programming their projects. I was soo impressed. I ate on Banana leaf plates, visited the famous Meenakshi Temple in Madurai,

Good night ceremony at Meenakshi temple

On the way back, i stayed one night with my cousine living in Chennai, we went to the beach,(first time, it was dark, i could only hear the Sea) i am scared of water, but i went on the bank of the sea and had my feet inside the water.

I am excited to work on this project and hopefully we got granted than we will make the necessary change in the lives on the women in Setrawa affiliated with the Sheerni Project.

I hope you enjoy the pictures , thanks for taking your time in reading the blog

Warm regards from Jodhpur stepping in Cold season day after day.


Melanie Schuster, Magdeburg, Germany

My Final Impression of Sambhali Trust

“Make the girls trust you, so that coming volunteers will have it easier to interact with he girls!”
One simple sentence; but it really determined my whole work with Sambhali Trust. Once Govind had given me this task, the sentence stood on my mind and I was eager to achieve exactly this trust.
But how do you make these girls trust you? All of them have some really serious problems to struggle with in their lives. Many of the girls aren’t treated well by the people around them.
I could know that from the interviews, which some other volunteers had had with the new Sambhali batch and which I was supposed to edit. Before I could get to know them personally, I read these interviews to get an idea of the life and dreams.
My heart was touched immediately: Touched by what they have to bear in their lives, but also by the dreams they have.
So I got to that question: How do I make them trust me, though they made so many bad experiences in their lives?
But at the same time I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. I could know their self-confidence from what they said about their future, their dreams and aims. All of them had such an optimistic attitude, that even I got optimistic about my task.
And I wasn’t wrong with that. Even on the very first day, I could feel they would become very close friends to me, as they treated me as one right from the beginning; even though I didn’t know their language. But a smile has no accent! Remembering that, I simply knew I was going to spend three wonderful weeks with them.
That’s what I actually did- just had a lot of fun with them!
I could feel their self-confidence, which is well-founded, as all of them are really intelligent, talented and ambitious. All the time I felt they really deserve a better life than that, I read about in the interviews.
But knowing that Sambhali ensures this better life, I felt really proud to work in this project.
All of the girls were so eager to learn English that I had to give them some classes, though I was told not to push them too hard with it during their first days here.
But I could feel it was really fun for them, as they told me the English word for the color of every object in the room, whenever the opportunity arose.
I could see their power and will to change their lives, to improve themselves and to reach their common goal: Seeing their families happy and proud of them. And as I know them quite well after these three weeks together; I’m happy to say that I’m absolutely sure they are going to reach this goal!

I think during my time here, I found some really good friends in them. We were eating, dancing and learning together. They told me a lot about their lives, their sorrows and hopes. I felt like a part of their group! And that’s what I was asked to do: making them trust me. So whom do you trust more than a close friend?

I gained a lot from my work with Sambhali: It was an experience that makes me see the world with different eyes and that gave me a deep insight into the Indian society.
But what is most important for me, is that I realized that it doesn’t matter where you come from or which way you will go, people can and should trust each other easily! Because this is what makes friendship, love and respect- the three ingredients for happiness.
I think this first step is done and I’m sure Sambhali Trust is going to lead the girls the further path.

I am happy I could take part in this project and hope to come back soon, as I will miss the girls, my friends, immensely!


Some stories of our new participants of Jodhpur Project


AGE: 12 (unmarried)

What burdens Sabina is her uncle, who controls and beats her and her 6 sisters continuously. Often they are not allowed to leave the house, where they also face verbal and physical violence as their father is an alcoholic. That is why Sabina gets very sad sometimes.
But she really enjoys festivals and weddings, as much as dreaming of a better future.
All she wants to do is to learn how to sew, stitch, read and write Hindi and English, so that she can feel proud of herself and can easily handle insults. That is why she says she would come to Sambhali Trust and learn everything there if she could do whatever she would like to.
With these new skills she wants to earn money and buy a house for her mother.

AGE: 14 (unmarried)

Shahida has to struggle with many difficulties in her life. Her parents do not allow her to do anything, she says. Her grandfather beats her because he does not like her friends and she has to pay rent to him, even though there is no electricity at her home.
Another thing that makes her cry sometimes is, that nobody wants to sit beside her father during a ceremony because he is a leper.
All she is longing for is her parents’ happiness, because that is the only thing that makes her happy. She prays for her father’s health and wants to earn money to help her family and pay the therapy her father needs. That is why she really wants to learn some useful skills, such as English and stitching, to make sure, she can get a good job in the future.
Because Sambhali Trust gives her these opportunities she loves coming to the Trust everyday.

AGE: 15 (unmarried)

Sultana’s father was killed by an electric shock, so that she stays with her mother’s family now. Seeing her mother sad and working too much depresses her very much. She wishes, her brother would help her mom by giving her some money, but he does not.

Therefore she wants to study to be financially independent by learning about stitching, embroidery and English.
Because she can learn all these subjects there, she really likes being in the Trust.
Especially English is very important to her, because she thinks, knowing this language she can talk to many different people finally.
As she likes to be with other people, the festival time is what makes her really happy.

AGE: 15 (engaged)

Because Ramjana’s father died, the family is facing many financial problems, though her younger brothers work already. Ramjana often sees her mother sad and working too much. That is what makes her sad and wish that her family would always be happy and financially stable.
For her, becoming financially independent means to learn sewing as well as knowing how to read and write Hindi and English.
That is why coming to the Trust makes her feel as happy as attending festival celebrations.

AGE: 25 (got married when she was 9 years old)

Reshma had some serious problems with her in-laws, so that she lives with her mother again now. Sometimes she feels very lonely when there is nobody at home.
But it really makes her happy to take care of her family, including her 2 sons (7 and 8 years old). That is why she loves to cook, sew and do other housework.
If she could have anything in this world, she would like to have her own house in Jodhpur, where she could live with her mother and her children rent-free, she says.
She wants her sons to have a good future in a government job, as well.
Because she is uneducated, she wants to learn sewing and English in order to talk to tourists and volunteers.
That is what she is enjoying the most in the Trust: Talking to foreigners and making many new friends.

AGE: 19 (unmarried)

When Payal’s older sister got married, her family had to borrow money at a 10% interest rate. So she is really worried about financial problems now. She only wants to help her parents to get happy again.
Therefore she plans to become a beautician and open her own beauty parlor afterwards, so that she will be able to pay for her wedding and does not have to ask her parents for the dowry.

For the future beauty parlor the most important thing to learn is English, she thinks. But she also enjoys the dancing, yoga, embroidery and modeling lessons at Sambhali very much.
Payal is very grateful for the emotional and financial support she gets from the Trust for her education.

AGE: 18 (unmarried)

Jyoti lives in a family with one brother, one sister and an alcoholic father, who often beats her mother and doesn’t support the family financially.
Because she wants her mother and siblings to be happy always, she wants to learn beauty parlor skills to become a beautician and make jewelry in the future.
To fulfill these dreams, she eagerly wants to learn English.
After her father made her stop studying she is now very happy she can continue at Sambhali Trust, especially because she forgets all her problems being there.

AGE: 18 (got married when she was 17 years old)

Teena says about herself, she had no serious problems to struggle with in her life at all, except that she had to leave school when father had been unemployed.
But asking her about what makes her sad, you will find out that she has some serious problems with her in-laws indeed, as they want her in their house as a domestic servant.
Because she still lives with her parents, they put a lot of pressure on her to move to their house. And as Teena actually has very high goals this is a very serious problem.

She wants to become a doctor and wishes to study instead of living with her in-laws, because that means only doing housework and getting children.
So she is very happy to go to Sambhali, because she wants to learn everything, especially English.
All she needs is seeing her family happy.

AGE: 20 (unmarried - broken engagement)

Sangeeta is very concerned about the fact, that her three brothers are not taking care of her parents. So she wants to be like a son to them, supporting them always.
At the same time she really loves her boyfriend, misses him very much whenever he leaves the town and wants to marry him.
She also has a very close relationship to her best friend, who makes her smile always.
In the future she would like to become a nurse and run her own beauty parlor.
At Sambhali she wants to learn about embroidery, stitching and English, which she thinks is very important for her beauty parlor.
Sangeeta is very grateful that she has got the chance to come to Sambhali, because she feels she is gaining a lot more confidence there.


AGE: 16 (unmarried)

Rakha’s family faces financial problems that make Rekha’s parents fight very often.
No wonder, she loves to see the opposite: Wedding parties.
In the future she wants to be a good tailor. That is why she wants to improve her skills in English, embroidery and stitching.
Sambhali Trust will help her to become independent and to fulfill her simple dream of going shopping for clothes without worrying about the money all the time.

AGE: 15 (unmarried)

Gulpsa has a younger sister who beats her and sometimes she has to face hunger.
To her, happiness means having a picnic with her family.
Though she does not know yet what kind of job she wants to have in the future, her biggest dream is to buy an own house one day.
She is eager to learn stitching and embroidery, as well as English, which means a lot to her because she loves to talk to other people.
Gulpsa feels like home when she is at Sambhali, because she gets so much help and finds herself growing everyday there, she says.

AGE: 13 (unmarried)

Afsana has to struggle with many difficulties within her family. Her father does not work, thus cannot support the family financially and drinks alcohol very often. She also gets beatings from her aunt and uncle sometimes.

In the future she wants to concentrate on sewing as she wishes, she could help her mother somehow.
Another thing, she hopes to achieve, is learning how to read; especially Urdu, since she focuses on the Koran.
She really loves the Muslim Idd festival and being with her friends at Sambhali.

AGE: 15 (unmarried)

Farida is burdened by the circumstances under which she has to live. Every time it rains, she says, her family’s house is flooded.

That is why her biggest dream is to move into a new house.
To achieve this, she wants to become a tailor by learning stitching, embroidery and English.
She does not only enjoy learning a lot, but also going on a picnic with her family or attending the Muslim Idd festival.

AGE: 20 (married since June 2009)

Sangita is an Orphan who always felt unwanted when she was a child. When her parents died, she missed them a lot and felt very sad and lonely.
After having had an inter-caste court marriage, she is really happy with her nice husband now, though she fears she has to move because of not being able to pay the rent for her house.
Now she finally feels like having a family and there is nothing she enjoys more than having her in-laws in her house.
So she dreams of having a house where the whole family could live together. For that reason she wants to become financially independent, helping her husband to earn money by making toys for children in the future. That is why she wants to learn sewing eagerly.

Sangita thinks, Sambhali is giving her this opportunity as well as the hope to find work someday.
Then, maybe, she can finally have the trip to Madras with her husband, that she always wanted.

AGE: 20 (married)

Before her marriage Neelu had some serious problems with her father, who drank a lot of alcohol and often had arguments with Neelu’s mother, beating her even.

But now she is really happy with her husband, though sometimes she gets worried, that her mother-in-law could say something wrong to her. Nevertheless she only wants happiness for all her family members and really enjoys spending time with her husband; especially when they go to visit different places.
She prays, he will get a job soon and that she can support him by becoming a tailor soon. As that means independence to her, she works hard to learn sewing and other tailor skills.
That is why she comes to Sambhali and everything she expected from it, became true, she says.

AGE: 19 (engaged)

Because of her marriage, that is going to take place in November, Sonu had to stop studying though she really wanted to continue. That is, what makes her sad sometimes.
But actually she really loves her fiancée and has to cry, whenever he gets angry with her.
She loves to visit different places and to help her parents. That means doing a good job in the future, as well. That is why she dreams of doing a beauty parlor course soon, as she wants to become a beautician. A symbol of the independence she can get from doing this job, is a scooter, which she really would like to own.
For her future job, Sonu wants to concentrate on learning English in order to speak to her foreign customers then.
Because she learns many different skills and has a lot of fun with the other girls there, she loves to come to Sambhali every day.

AGE: 18 (got married when she was 14 years old)

Shabina is a very unlucky girl, who had to suffer a lot after she got married. Her husband does not treat her well, beating her very often. He even gave her an electric shock and burned her arm, saying she had not given him enough dowry.
Now, Shabina tries to get divorced from him, but he refuses and asks three lakh rupees instead. Thinking of her grandfather, who died in 2002, also depresses her sometimes.
Her family is very important to her and she would do anything to see all her family members happy. Especially her two-year-old niece is giving this happiness back, as she loves to play with her.

In the future Shabina wants to be an independent policewoman, who never has to marry again. But before that, she really needs some money to continue her studies, she says. Then she would also earn respect for her parents, she thinks.
Sambhali helps her to achieve her goals; that is why she likes to go there that much.

AGE: 23 (got married when she was 15, divorced)

After her marriage, Fharida wasn’t happy at all. Her husband did not allow her to interact with any other men; not even her brothers. Because she suffered a lot from that, she got divorced and now wants to become independent.
Sometimes she really misses her dead father very much, but domestic work, she says, makes her forget her problems.
She really wants to earn her own money soon, so that she tries hard to learn stitching and embroidery quickly. One day she wants to go on the Haj-pilgrimage, as well. But her biggest dream is seeing her sister’s child, which is handicapped, walk and talk.
Fharida is very happy at Sambhali as it keeps her mind busy all the time.

AGE: 17 (engaged)

Sultana gets very upset when people yell at her and say bad things about her. Sometimes she also feels very bad, when something is going wrong with her body.
She enjoys simple things, such as watching TV, playing or doing housework and only wants happiness for her and her family.
As she wants to earn her own money by stitching and sewing at home, she is now very happy to have the chance to learn these skills at Sambhali.
She also wants to learn English and especially Urdu to read her holy book.
At Sambhali Trust Sultana always feels good, because she loves to be with her friends and can easily forget her problems there.

AGE: 30 (got married when she was 18 years old, divorced)

After her wedding Rahisaa felt really terrible, so that she got divorced finally. But her sister-in-law still gossips about her, what hurts Rahisaa a lot.
She enjoys domestic work, as it keeps her away from thinking about her problems, she says.
Because her biggest wish is to become financially independent, she is very eager to learn practical skills, which help her earn money soon.

Those skills she can learn at Sambhali Trust, so that she is full of hopes for the future now.

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