Friday, July 02, 2010

Volunteers First Impression Report!!

July has come to an end, the month has been wonderful, a lot happened this month, I hope my dear readers you will enjoy the pictures below.
28th of July , Sambhali Boutique opened to help Sambhali get sustainable and to bring employment to our participants. The boutique is situated opposite the Hotel Haveli, Clock tower.(city center) Makrana Mohalla, opposite Tanwarji ka Jhalra.
The Sambhali Boutique was inaugrated a dear friend, well wisher and supporter of Sambhali Mrs. Ernestine Baderguber, who is also our partner organization's founder and director in Austria called Soziale Initiative based in Linz, Mrs. Badegruber is also on Sambhali Trust's advisory board. After prayers and a proper ceremony the Sambhali Boutique opened at 11.00am. We really hope the boutique flourishes.

Sans Frontieres, a company who has been kind to send us 10 groups of teenage to adults from France traveling by Jodhpur to stay with us at Durag Niwas Guest House and make cultural exchange program with our Sambhali Trust here in Jodhpur and Setrawa village project.

Gypsy Dancers performing in front of the group members of Sans Frontieres one evening at the guest house.
Sans Frontieres in Setrawa village with our Sambhali Trust participants of Setrawa village empowerment project and villagers.
At the Sambhali empowerment project participants painting our guest's palms with henna.
Guest having lunch with our participants at Sambhali Empowerment center
Guest playing traditional Indian game(Santoliya) Sambhali Empowerment project, Raikabagh, Jodhpur!
Our Sambhali Team v.s Sans Frontieres
Guest performing dance and songs!

Our participants performing for our guests
The cultural exchange program got telecast by the State's news agencies

Sheerni Micro Finance group 4,5,6 got established this month, 98% Dalit women from below poverty line. A lot has to be done in Setrawa village, this is just the beginning.


By: Megan Kassick
Arrival- 24tg June 2010

Departure- 4th December 2010

Student of Biology at a school in Boston,

Massachusetts. USA

First Impressions

Not many other places seem as exotic or foreign to me as India. After all, it is about as far as you can get in the world from the United States, which is where I’m from. But now I have found myself in the royal and diverse land of India and I couldn’t be more excited. My name is Megan Kassick and I am interning with Sambhali Trust from June to December 2010. I grew up in Minnesota and am now studying biology at a school in Boston, Massachusetts. When I graduate college I hope to go to medical school and become a physician in women’s health.

Upon arriving in India, I immediately noticed the strong culture here. The language, the dress the women wear, the bright colors of textiles showed me richness in culture I have never seen before. I am living with a host family and right away noticed that they are very warm and welcoming towards guests. I haven’t been with them long but I have already learned so much about the local language, food, and customs of Rajasthan. They are already like a second family to me.

My first impressions of Sambhali Trust were that everyone at the organization is very welcoming and also that the NGO is very organized and genuinely working for a good cause. The staff at Sambhali couldn’t be nicer and more helpful and the girls and women that the NGO works to benefit practically took me in as a sister after only a couple of days. The organization helps these girls learn English and skills such as sewing so that they can generate income and empower themselves. It is obvious that Govind, the director and founder of Sambhali Trust, is passionate about the NGO’s cause and has only good intentions. It is refreshing to be able to work with such good-hearted people. Organization is key to a successful initiative, and one of my very first days at Sambhali there was a big meeting with all the Sambhali staff which is held monthly. Watching this meeting and the discussion that took place showed me that all the projects are very well put together and reported on. The biggest challenge so far is learning Hindi so that I can better communicate with everyone. Hopefully after six months I will improve my Hindi at least somewhat! Overall I have a very good first impression of Sambhali Trust and the people that comprise it and I’m confident that my first impressions will hold true throughout my six months here.

Malia Lee Hunt

University of California, Berkeley, USA
Gender and Women's Studies / Global Poverty and Practice

26th May till 23rd of July 2010

My time volunteering with Sambhali Trust has been limited to days thus far, however my experiences have been extremely rich. My first moments spent here were touring the Durag Niwas Guesthouse, where part of Sambhali’s work takes place. The guesthouse is painted with brilliant shades of blue and is full of life with kind family members, and my personal favorite, Chile, the sweetest little dog! After my tour I sat down and spent much time speaking with Mr. Govind, and within minutes of our conversing, I was struck with thankfulness and joy to know I would be working with him, and within the organization he has created. After learning about his views on NGOs, women’s empowerment, women’s independence, and altruism, I cannot say that there would be any other organization in the world that I would rather be volunteering with. Sambhali Trust, of what I have came to know of it within the last few days, is an honest, compassionate, progressive organization that has been designed strictly to do what it pledges, to empower women and girls, and these women and girls are empowered!

I have had the opportunity to meet with girls and women who receive education, micro credit, workshops, social support, crafts training, and much more from Sambhali, and have bonded with them instantly. Many of the girls and women I have met are articulate, interested to bond and communicate with me and others, and seem very open to learning new things and meeting new people. A problem with communicating has been our language barrier, but this hasn’t stopped us from putting dedication into trying to understand and get to know each other. I look forward to the next two months of learning what matters to these girls and women most, and what they are in search of in terms of empowering themselves, each other, and the organization.

First Impression Sambhali Trust

from May 26, 2010 until August 3, 2010.

Ariel Root Wolpe

Class of 2012

Student of Religious Studies at Emory College of Arts and Sciences


July 1st, 2010

Change comes from within. Within each person, certainly, but also within a community, from the web of minds that shape a household, a village, a culture. Change often sprouts up, struggling, between cracks in the pavement, fueled by internal unrest. Sambhali Trust has planted this change in a fertile bed, where a garden of women to unfold their brilliant, resilient petals.

The potential of Sambhali Trust runs deep within the experiences and beliefs of its beneficiaries. Each smiling woman and girl has a story, hardships and roadblocks they’ve faced and continue to tackle. When I arrived at Sambhali Trust, I was welcomed by a graceful group of women, adorned in vibrant clothes, jewelry and a thirst for knowledge. I swelled with admiration, and anticipation of working towards women’s empowerment.

Meeting the members of Sambhali Trust, you would never imagine that most are from the Dalit caste (known as the lower caste) and considered a lesser female since birth. Every day I watch as this title is rejected by Sambhali’s women, overwritten in open notebooks filled with English and Hindi, replaced by beautiful embroidery of original design, and overshadowed by the fluid motions of dance and joyous laughter.

My internship at Sambhali Trust focuses on the Sheerni Micro Finance Project in Setrawa, a village close to Jodhpur, Rajasthan. This project creates Self Help Groups, in which rural women can save money and take loans to begin a business. A powerful way to empower women, it offers financial independence and respect to previously limited lives. It is an opportunity for a woman to prove her worth and abilities, and take control of her life and the well being of her family.

I’ve met a widow who stretched electric wires all the way to her house in the desert to grind grain; girls who labor to rebuild their fallen home in the morning, rushing to attend school on time; women who bring their daughters to learn sewing, intent on fulfilling a dual role as mother and apprentice. Everyone’s struggles and achievements are shared, understood, and supported by friend and institution. Each helps the other succeed.

Equaling my inspiration from the girls is my gratefulness for the phenomenal staff at Sambhali Trust, who has dedicated its whole self to the empowerment of women. The director, teachers, managers and every employee and volunteer are a pleasure to work with and get to know. Many of them have had their fair share of hardships, and have come out stronger, a true inspiration for the repressed and disadvantaged.

I realize, as a visitor, I am likely gaining more from this experience than I could give back. But that doesn’t stop me from trying, and it’s easy to become committed to such an impressive effort. Sambhali Trust draws miracles out of the ordinary, pushing each member towards her unrealized potential. The Sambhali family rises beyond the bounds of caste and sex, leading the way to education and acceptance for each repressed mind. It offers the opportunity that every soul is entitled to: a chance to dream.

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