Tuesday, June 05, 2012

May 2012

Dear well wishers, 
The month of May has been full of activity, the Sambhali Boutique has moved to the new address. 
Sambhali Boutique
Near Clocktower,

Monica Jod, a former Literacy participant has been employed as the new supervisor for the Boutique.

The government schemes vocational training has successfully finished. This year we have received 16 new applications from children and their mothers for their daughters, looking for scholarship support from the trust to help them continue or go back to school. These vulnerable, poor, Dalit children have no hopes from their families but from us. Anybody who wish to sponsor a child for a year from July 2012- June 2013 kindly message me for further details. We are waiting to hear from yourselves.

8th May
Today for the second time 200 girls of Sabla Scheme run by the department of women and child development visited the Sambhali Jodhpur Empowerment Center and after this we celebrated the "Mother's day" program at our Sambhali Sister for Sisters empowerment center at Balika Grah Jodhpur (Social justice and empowerment department) Chief guest of the day were H'ble District Collector and D.F.O Ma'am.

 Sambhali Graduates performing Folk dance
12th May
This morning some of the women of Sambhali Trust got together at 7.00 am, We celebrated the foundation day of our town. We all went to the unveiling ceremony of the statue of our town's first Maharaja, Rao Jodha, next to the fort. We had a trip to the Mehrangarh Fort and through the old town market we went to a local restaurant for Lunch. This opportunity gave our participants to witness our heritage and also helped us make our bond with the participants stronger. Some women of Solankiaya tala and Setrawa villages came to a fort for the first time.

 Sambhali Sheerni women resting at the restaurant after lunch
 Priyadarshini Adarsh SHG and Swawlamban Government Schemes Vocational training program of ready made garments finished on the 30th May

I’m Matthieu Layecfrom France, student in International Cooperation. I spent one month with Sambhali Trust in april 2012.

Before to come I heard about the conditions of women’s life in this country but it was worst that I knew. I discovered a new reality, terrific but with lot of hope. Sambhali was the first NGO working about Empower Women I saw in India, so I was very interested to work with them.

So during my short time in Sambhali I had teacher, it was totally new for me to do this and I was a little afraid. But you are never alone in your work, every volunteer (and Govind of course) are here to help you, answer to your question, try to guide you in the good way to teach. So my first lesson was about how to make an Origami, we found this idea with Roberto and I think it was good for me to begin by that to discover my futur student.

Because you don’t become a teacher like this, you have to understand the culture of the girl, who is able to speak English, what is their motivation for after, and when I began I didn’t know all of this. But after 2 weeks (and you really need this time to feel comfortable) I was more aware, I knew the name of the girl and their level. And most important I discovered a strong motivation from them.

The third and fourth week, a lot of new girl came to Sambhali so with Anna and the Hindi teacher we decided to make 3 class : Advanced, Medium and Basic. It was simplier for us and better for the lesson. I took the medium class for the rest of my time and I tried some thing to teach, like I noticed some girls wrote what I had put on the board but by questioning them they did not know the meaning.

After that I used a Hindi dictionnary to organize my lesson. For the English vocabulary I was (with my book) able to say and write the world in Hindi, I think it’s a good way to do this because sometime they are shy (yes trust me!) and don’t ask if they not understand. With this technique they don’t need to have a good level of English to understand the lesson and it’s important to do not give up quickly. Anyway, I hope some volunteer are doing this to teach and are taking care of the girl in difficulty with math or other.

My time as teacher was very interesting, I got a challenge when I arrived and I’m happy it was with all these friendly and smiling girl. I enjoyed making workshop with them every wednesday, especially the day we worked about the dream. It was so cool too see them cutting, painting, making collage about their future.

In the same time, I was looking for french organisation to make a network of volunteer because the needing here is everytime. So now, Sambhali is working with “Femmes en Mission Humanitaire” and I hope this partnership will continue for a while.

This period has been very rewarding, both professionally as the human side, my daily immersion in Indian culture became more profound and I learned more about the living conditions in the country of the world's largest democracy. But unfortunately the equality is a sweet dream for millions of people. The caste system hampering any hope of real development. But among all the chaos that often symbolizes India, there are people who are struggling to say no and stand up to the system in place, and among these people there are the women of Sambhali Trust.

I’m proud to have participated for the future of India. Thanks to all the staff of Sambhali, this experience changed my life.


First impressions (after 2 ½ weeks)

My name is Florian Erb, I’m from Germany, where I finished my studies and have time until my masters in October. So I decided to go to India for 4 months, 2 of which I’m volunteering at Sambhali Trust, then later I will travel with my girlfriend through India. For many years I´ve known that I want to work in another country, see other cultures and experience another way of life. One year ago I decided to go to India. I considered some other countries but India convinced me, because there is a huge difference between the rich and poor, they have a unique culture and a variety of landscapes like the tropical, deserts, beaches, mountains and so on. 
I arrived in Jodhpur on the 29th of March and stayed for two days in Durag Niwas Guesthouse. There I got a nice welcome with flowers, the typical Bindi and another German volunteer. On my 3rd day I had my first teammeeting with all the staff of Sambhali Trust. It was nice to meet the other volunteers and listen to their experiences over the previous weeks and months. So we went out for dinner, watched a film at the cinema and another volunteer showed me around the city of Jodhpur.  Exciting, busy and full of Indians. ;) So I was prepared for my hostfamily in Setrawa. I went there by bus with another teacher of Sambhali Trust Empowerment Centre Setrawa, Mool Singh. We started our 2 ½ hour trip to Setrawa in daylight and arrived there at nighttime. So my first walk through Setrawa was very dark and I was excited to meet my hostfamily. In their house a lot of family members were waiting to welcome me. Nobody speaks good English in the house, its funny but also an experience.  
Before my trip to Setrawa I got a folder from the previous volunteers. In this they wrote down something about the school, the lessons, gave descriptions of the kids and explained other things like workshops. So I felt prepared.
After some days you notice that you live the real Indian life. You eat spicy food which is rich in variety. You always sit on the floor, eat with your hands, take a shower with a bucket and sleep on the roof. That’s India or at least the desert village of Setrawa. J
In school I am teaching English, doing hygiene, arts and crafts and playing different games with the students. Some of them are really keen to learn and all of them are very cute. Since my first day I have had my own class, who learn advanced English. That’s sometimes funny, because they know some words I don’t know. But the other teachers are always there, when I need help and they are also open for suggestions and it’s easy to cooperative with them. I am not a teacher and India is not Germany. When you notice this it’s easier to do good work and enjoy the time with Sambhali, the kids and the life in the desert.
I am looking forward to my remaining time in Setrawa and hope for more experiences, some nice trips through Rajasthan and good cooperation with the new volunteer who comes soon.  

Anna Camilleri
First Impressions – 3 weeks at Sambhali Trust, Setrawa, Empowerment Centre.
A week before I arrived in India, I got in touch with Govind about volunteering with his NGO in Rajasthan.  I had heard about the organization from a friend, and after doing some research online I realised that the subjugation of women in India is an issue that cannot be ignored, and I decided that women´s empowerment is a cause I´d be happy to devote my time to.
When I was told that I would be going to Setrawa, a tiny village in the middle of the desert, I was thrilled because I´ve always wanted to dive into a completely different lifestyle to my own, so what´s better than traditional, rural India?  However, when I arrived in Setrawa on the 23rd April 2012, with no idea what to expect, I was suddenly petrified!  I had never lived in this kind of environment, nor worked so closely with young children, and even with my experience as an English teacher I knew working here would be a challenge.
After a hectic, crowded bus journey through the sweltering Thar desert I was greeted by Mool Singh, who immediately explained everything to me.  Besides myself there is one other volunteer, Florian from Germany who arrived 4 weeks earlier than I did.  He´s very friendly and helped me to settle in on my first day.  The other teachers Usha and Pooja are beautiful and independent young women who also made me feel welcome so I immediately felt comfortable as part of the team.
The children who come to Sambhali are adorable.  Florian and I are constantly wondering how we can pack them up and post them back home to Europe!  During the first week it was difficult for me to communicate with them, especially the Butterfly class who don’t have a high level of English.  It took a few days for them to start trusting me and for me to learn all their names.  After a while it got easier because I learnt some basic Hindi and got to know them better.  Still, children are unpredictable and every day is full of surprises!
I think the most difficult thing for me to handle was the chaos of around 60 children in the afternoon Peacock class.  There are so many of them that it was overwhelming at first and I felt like I was being tested… they all want to play different games and I thought… how do I make EVERYONE happy?!  Now I´m used to the huge number of kids.  They´re energetic and sweet, always want to play and ask you questions.  I love jumping around with them, Mool Singh knows how to get everyone up and participating, when we play I feel like a child again!
In the Butterfly class at 1pm we´re teaching children from the Dalit caste who don’t go to school.  Many of them are still learning the alphabet and have little experience sitting in the classroom. We start with ´circle time´ where the children get to express themselves and say how they´re feeling.  Here all the different personalities emerge.  Some kids are shy and reserved, others want to scream and shout.  It´s difficult to control them sometimes and I find myself getting frustrated.  Then I remember that the most important thing is that these children are here, being given the chance to learn and play in a safe environment, being taught how to share and respect one another, so it doesn’t matter if the lessons don’t always go as planned, as long as we have fun!  The other class we teach, the Peacock class ´A´ have a more advanced level of English and I enjoy creating new activities to teach them in fun ways.  We have an enthusiastic group, all willing to learn, and I think they enjoy coming to Sambhali just for the change of going to normal school where maybe they don’t learn in such an enjoyable manner.
The Sambhali empowerment centre is a great asset to Setrawa.  It has given young girls the opportunity to learn and become individuals.  Even the little boys gain so much from it, interacting with girls their age.   I think it will help them to grow up as men who are more sensitive towards women and respect human rights. As soon as I started my time here I knew I was becoming involved in something special.  I notice this most at the end of the day.  Sometimes the kids arrive at school moody.  I sometimes wonder what they´ve been doing at home, probably the housework.  Or they´ve just walked 3km to get here.  It takes a while to get them to clean up, then at times they just sulk and refuse to participate in anything.  But by the end of it they are always smiling.  They go home feeling better than they did when they arrived and that’s how I know we´re doing something right.
As for me, this place has taught me so much already.  I never thought I could live somewhere so different from what I´m used to.  The people in our home barely speak English but somehow I feel a part of the family now.  The house is noisy at times and its difficult to find a moment alone.  We even sleep all together on the roof and are called to bed at 11pm!  Having a good sense of humour helps, and we find ourselves in fits of laughter many times a day, screaming back at our host sister when she orders us to come to dinner (ANNA…. EATING!  YOU COME HERE NOW!) or bursting into song with our favourite Bollywood hit ´´Bole Churiyan´´.  To our family, we are aliens with weird habits and for us they are just as strange, eating on the floor with their hands and wearing layered saris at the height of summer.  Somehow it works perfectly and I´ll never forget the people here, the cute little children and the village women who I spend so much time with, staring from face to face attentively trying to guess what they´re talking about.  Even without proper conversation our interactions are rewarding.  I´ve got two more weeks here and I´m going to savour every moment I have left!
11th may
Today we had the opportunity to meet with H'ble Ms. Deepak Kalra, the Chairperson of the state Commission for Protection of Child Rights. She also visited the Sambhali Sisters for Sisters project we operate with the Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Jodhpur and appreciated our efforts very much..

Women in India face problems in every sphere of their lives, with domestic violence, dowry deaths, acid attacks, honour killings, rape and abduction, just a few of the sad realities of life in India.
NCRB statistics suggest that women are actually most unsafe in their marital home with 43.6% of all crimes against women being "cruelty" inflicted by her husband and relatives. Often they don't have a source of support or a place of refuge where they can feel safe if things go wrong. Vulnerable women need a sanctuary which offers them protection, assistance and also guidance and emotional support, to help them take back control of their lives and ease back into society safely.
Opening today, the Sambhali Panaah Women's Shelter Service offers a short-term solution for women who are in need of a safe and secure refuge space. It was established in August 2012, in response to the growing number of women approaching Sambhali Trust seeking care and protection.

Our Shelter Service is designed to provide a flexible and needs-based approach to help these women, by addressing their specific vulnerability through integrated approaches. Shelter and protection is provided, as well as access to counsellors, medical doctors, legal advice, and protection. So far, we have helped women in cases related to mental illness, legal issues, health issues and dowry-related cases and we have also provided financial aid to fight a women's rights issue and a divorce dispute.

The shelter has been a great help to the local community as well as communities further afield. Women have come to Sambhali through word of mouth from as far as Delhi and Mumbai, demonstrating the need for this type of service in Indian society.
Khamaghani all, our trip to Europe this year for raising awareness about the Sambhali Trust women and girls empowerment organization.
06th until 13th Linz (Austria)
14th and 15th Hamburg (Germany)
16th June Aachen
17th until 19th June Cologne
20th and 21st Rapperswil (Switzerland)
22nd- 24th Spiegel/Bern/Thun
25th- Geneva
26th and 27th Neuchatel
28th- Biel/Bienne
29th- Basel
30th- Basel- Vienna
01st- Vienna- Dehli
How many of us are meeting enroute? Please inbox me so that I can provide the contact details and addresses...

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