Friends of Seva Mandir Inc invests to improve the well-being of under-privileged communities in southern Rajasthan, India. It also seeks to raise awareness of the development challenges and accomplishments of the field by bringing together a community of supporters for dialogue and action in support of Seva Mandir and social justice at large.
FSM currently supports the following projects/programs at Seva Mandir.
These are rural schools for 6-14 year olds, supported by Seva Mandir. They address the educational needs of the children who are otherwise employed in economic and/or social opportunities to support their families. The program also helps build awareness of quality education within the community with the intent of creating new standards for quality education in government schools and teachers.
Children who graduate from rural schools have remained in school longer than their peers and have academically performed better than their peers.
Balwadis (rural preschools) are full-day child-care centers that provide young children (1-5 years old) with a safe and secure environment and a joyful learning experience. To combat the high level of malnourishment (62.8% underweight and 75% anemic children) nutritious supplemental meals are provided 2 times each day.
Balwadis reduce the burden on care-givers (usually mothers and older female siblings), enabling them to work or attend school.
Residential Learning Camps
These are seasonal schools/camps that allow children (6-14 years old), deprived of regular schooling opportunities, to learn basic reading and writing skills. These children are out of school for many reasons, but most notably for their responsibilities at home which include looking after younger siblings, taking cattle for grazing, working in the fields or even migrating for seasonal labor. Some are children who are orphans or have dropped out from regular schools in the past because of bad experiences.
Three seasonal residential camps (each of 50 – 55 day’s duration) are conducted every year. The two main subjects taught are language (Hindi) and mathematics. Each child is required to attend three full camps and is thereafter encouraged to join mainstream schools.
These camps have demonstrated a high impact on the learning levels of the children. The success of these camps is based on child-friendly teaching material, teaching pedagogy, classroom environment, classroom interactions and the regular follow-ups.
Domestic Violence Shelters
This program includes a Short-stay Home for women who are victims of domestic abuse and other gender based violence. The Home provides a safe place for a period of up to 3 years and in this time the women are provided psychological support, recreational activities, along with skill-building opportunities. Efforts are also made to negotiate with their families.
This program is run in collaboration with the Central Social Welfare Board under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.