What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Our main barrier to the success of our project is the society’s view on Dalit women, including the families of our beneficiaries, who have sadly often stopped them from coming. As our women also have to do all their housework, their attendance can be sporadic, as whenever the family requires them to work, they will miss lessons. Without regular attendance we cannot progress their learning. We try and show the families how beneficial our vocational course is, and to show their improvement. With our younger participants, we show this by weekly tests, which have to be taken home to be signed by their father. We have also gone to participants’ houses to talk to their families if and when they have concerns, and encourage volunteers to go to have chai (tea) with their families, so they can see their daughter/wife conversing in English. In our Setrawa Empowerment centre, for younger participants, we have started including young boys with the hope that they will grow up with the same views as Sambhali’s towards the treatment of women. It’s very rewarding watching them together. By becoming accepted by the community ourselves, we hope the families will allow and even encourage women in their families to come regularly to our centres.
Our other issue is funding, as we currently only have one-year grants. Although these will most probably be continued, we do not have complete financial security. As we try to become more self-sustainable, we are also constantly looking for future donors and partnerships.
Tell us about your partnerships
We have made strong partnerships that have helped us financially and with ongoing support.
The founder of the Veerni Project has supported Sambhali in setting up the Sheerni Project, helping women gain independence through micro-credit loans. Ms. Jacqueline de Chollet, their founder, serves on Sambhali’s Advisory Panel.
Frères de nos Frères is a non governmental Swiss organization. Their motto: ‘It is better to teach people how to fish than to give them food’ is a guideline for today’s projects. They have supported us with an annual grant, and show great interest in our work.
The Department of Women and Child Development, Jodhpur, implements certain innovative programmes for women and children. They have given us the funding to take their Micro-finance group under Sambhali's programme.
Basel is a Swiss organisation committed to improve the conditions for people in the poorest countries of the world. They have supported us generously, with their founder on our Advisory Board.
The Planet Wheeler Foundation is an Australian charity supporting practical and effective projects which make a difference in the alleviation of poverty. They have generously supported us through their Global Development Group.
Soziale Initiative is a voluntary organisation working with ‘Young People at Risk’ in Austria. Their founder is on our Advisory Board.
We have also worked with Antenna Trust, India, on women’s nutrition, Shared Vision, India, to get free eye testing and glasses for our participants, and are currently working with doctors of NACO in our new Project Aasha.
Explain your selections
Our range of projects attracts a range of supporters. Where our Sponsorship programme in the Literacy Project usually attracts individual donors, as well as donations for Sheerni woman to buy a cow, or a goat, etc, certain groups of people also donate to us due to a shared belief, eg) a homosexual couple giving a large donation for Project Aasha.
As we have a large network of international volunteers, there are a lot of people emotionally involved in and with Sambhali. The founder’s family have included the Sambhali participants as their extended family. These people have seen Sambhali’s work firsthand, and so are avid donators.
Our volunteers, 68 of them to date, have also been heavily relied upon and have done fantastic work. Not only do they tell the girls first-hand what their lives could be like, but their passion and hard work is infectious and a huge support to us all.
Customers from the Boutique are told about the Trust and tip generously, or give small donations to the Trust.
We receive support in Setrawa from the village Sarpaanch, who has greatly helped Sambhali integrate with the villagers and become accepted. Similarly, Jodhpur’s local police stations all know and respect Sambhali, and have learnt to take a Sambhali case of domestic violence or appeal for divorce seriously.
As previously explained, other foundations and NGOs have given us annual grants which have made it possible to do the work we continue to do. Our shared beliefs with these organisations make an easy partnership which we hope to continue in years to come.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
We hope that the Trust itself will become more self-sustainable so as to help with financial security. As our Boutique expands, its revenue should support the Graduates, their centre and the Boutique’s running costs, with its profits funding Sambhali itself. With personal donations for individuals’ loans, we have accumulated a revolving fund to use for the Self-help groups. This will go towards paying for the next loans, without Sambhali having to give any more donations. We also wish to invest in a van, so that we would not have to pay for rickshaws each day to transport the girls to and from the centre, as well as buying centres we currently pay monthly levies for- this, in the long-term, would be lower-cost, but is currently not economically viable. We want to hire another employee to control our Trust’s admin, as currently we rely solely on volunteers; this provides inconsistency and irregularity of work. We will encourage volunteers to stay for longer internships, thus being more beneficial for both parties. We plan to expand to offer the health drop-in centre and other extra facilities to strengthen our services we can provide for our beneficiaries. We’re looking for more funding grants as opposed to relying on personal donations- this will help us not only to budget, but give us the security to expand and improve our work. We would also like to increase our network of local connections, such as with the government, to ensure local support, and potential job opportunities for our graduates in the future.