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SAMBHALI’S ACTION AGAINST COVID-19
Sambhali Trust is now also working in the local villages of the rural Thar desert area 100km west of Jodhpur near Setrawa where Sambhali already has a Primary Education Centre.
People in these communities are very poor. 5 or 6 people live together in basic huts without electricity, needing to fetch water from a well and living a hand-to-mouth existence. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, and the intense lockdown from 25 March until 31 May, these villagers had been without an income since the quarries closed down where they were working as labourers. There are widows and widowers, elderly and vulnerable people who were all needing help.
Sambhali was working with the local village leaders and government administration to provide food kits and soap to these families. About 15 volunteers and 4 local drivers worked together to purchase and deliver supplies to these villagers in the sparse areas, amongst desert temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius every day. We were initially asked to help 22 families, with food and basic supplies which soon turned into 200 families. By the end of July, we were able to help 566 families in 12 villages and hamlets around Setrawa. Each family was provided with groceries including flour, rice, oil, pulses, tea, sugar, spices, jaggery and soap. Food kits are provided every 15 days.
As the attached pie chart shows, 2251 ration kits have been supplied to 566 families in total from 22 March until 31 August. These families live in 12 villages in the Dechu Tehsil District and Jodhpur city. 1143 families have been surveyed and provided with basic hygiene information and soaps and over 250 connected to a WhatsApp group for further up to date correct information.
Since 18 May, there has been an ease of restrictions and labourers have been able to return to work. Now, most of the families we have helped have access to earning an income again. Therefore, the 7th and last round of rations has been distributed. After the main food deliveries have stopped in June, Sambhali has been continuing to provide supplies to the most vulnerable families. In July, 24 needy families received ration kits for one month and 23 families in August. We will support them for approximately six months until we are sure that the Government can take care of them. Additionally, food packages are given out as requested through the Trust’s SOS project in Jodhpur.
We are also producing reusable face masks which are being made at Sambhali Headquarters by our Graduates and distributed to local government and police authorities in Jodhpur. Until now, more than 3,000 masks have been supplied for free. The funding for these masks has very kindly been donated by Sambhali US.
One ration kit for around 5 family members for a month costs 1,302 Rupees ($US 18).
From 22 March until 31 May, $US 24,372 has been spent on food rations in Dechu Tehsil district (including $US874 in Jodhpur). In July and August, we have spent around 31,000 Rupees per month for the most needy families.
With a big thank you to all of you, our last Milaap fundraising campaign was a great success and we were able to help all those families during the intense lockdown phases. But since our mission is not done yet, we have established a new Milaap site in mid-August to continue our work. We are ready to support anyone in need of food, clothes, masks and basic essentials.
Link to our Milaap fundraiser: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-sambhali-trust
Your support has been vital in helping provide basic supplies to these villages. We are very grateful for all your contributions.
Sambhali Trust September 2020
CNN article from June 4, 2020: https://us.cnn.com/2020/06/04/india/india-lockdown-food-coronavirus-intl/index.html
Times of India from September 7, 2020: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jodhpur/women-distribute-free-masks-risking-their-own-health/articleshow/77967970.cms
All photos by our volunteer © Veronika Goepfert/Switzerland
Sambhali's Projects during Covid-19 pandemic
Following the guidelines from the Rajasthan government, all Sambhali’s centres, boarding homes and both boutiques closed on 14 March 2020.
Our office is now open again from 10 - 5pm Monday to Saturday. Our Graduates are producing reusable face masks from the Graduate Sewing Center or from home which are supplied to anybody in need in Jodhpur. We have been able to continue with Boutique orders from customers, developing new products and working towards orders for Xmas. The office staff and Sambhali’s teachers are concentrating on Administrative work and skills development which includes computer skills training, volunteer coordination and English classes.
India’s nationwide lockdown started 25 March 2020 and its last 4th phase ended on 31 May. The first Unlock-phase began on 1 June. Currently, the country is facing the 4th phase of the Unlock-process. Many easing of the restrictions have taken place including the ability to go shopping in malls and eat in restaurants, with social distancing, hygiene measures and wearing of masks mandatory. In containment zones, people will not be allowed to go out except for essential items. These containment zones (red zones) are in most metropolitan cities including Jodhpur and still under lockdown. Covid-19 has been kept to a minimum in Setrawa but unfortunately, the numbers are gradually increasing in Jodhpur.
Schools, colleges and institutions at present are expected to return some time during the month of October but a date hasn't been set yet and is at the discretion of the individual states. Wearing of masks is compulsory in public places, work places and during transport.
Sambhali Trust is an NGO focused on the development and empowerment of marginalized women and girls in Rajasthan. We work throughout Jodhpur and the surrounding Thar desert with women and children experiencing discrimination and violence on a daily basis due to economic, gender, and caste status. These women face extreme poverty and social exclusion - deprived of education, health care, and legal resources. Many lack any autonomy in their domestic lives, and face severe verbal, physical, and sexual abuse within their communities. At Sambhali, we equip underprivileged women with the tools to become financially independent, provide for their children, and establish self-sustaining communities of support.
In Hindi, Sambhali means "strengthening of the deprived." We believe in a grassroots model for lasting, community-driven empowerment fostering dignity and self-confidence, encouraging deprived Rajasthani women to reclaim their worth.
We aim to break this cycle of poverty and dependence by providing vocational training in our sewing centers. We teach women valuable marketable skills to earn a living on their own. In our Empowerment Centres, we provide underprivileged women Rajasthani women and girls an education in English, Hindi, and Maths. Through our Scholarship Project and boarding homes, we sponsor children from poverty-stricken families to continue going to school. We provide counseling, health, and legal support when women are abused, abandoned, and blackmailed. Most importantly, we provide a space that is safe and free of discrimination, to uplift the hearts and voices of deprived Rajasthani women and nurture lasting networks of support.
9 Empowerment Centres
2 Boarding Homes
10,000 women and children reached
300 Sewing Centre graduates
265 Scholarship Project students
824 Nirbhaya Helpline Cases
Mrs. Shyama Tanwar, general secretary:
“When women come here, they are often very weak. They have been suffering financially and socially for a very long time, and feel very alone. When they arrive, they meet other women with similar struggles, and realise they are not alone in this. This is the first step to building confidence: having a community that is supportive and understanding. They start learning to sew, and when they improve they come to the graduate sewing center. There they are able to start making money, slowly becoming financially independent so that when they leave they feel empowered to continue earning their own livelihoods. These women learn English, Hindi, Math, and workshops including human rights, women’s health, economy, and more. They feel they have access to knowledge they were deprived from for so long, and this nurtures dignity. They are better able to provide for and teach their children, to nurture the next generation to be confident and powerful. And all of this happens in a safe and uplifting community of other women, that endures long after they leave Sambhali’s walls.”
At Sambhali, we follow three primary goals centered around self-confidence:
1. Building networks of lasting community support.
2. Promoting social and financial independence through training in valuable marketable skills.
3. Nurturing self-worth and strengthened future generations through education.
We are investing in current and future generations, to launch a community-driven ripple such that those waves of empowerment continue to spread throughout our community.