When travelling to India it is hard not to see that many women (& children) bear a huge burden of manual work in regional areas – whether it be on the roads carrying dirt and stones, in quarries or pounding grain and collecting water for the daily meals…
Sambhali Trust is a small but determined NGO based in the heart of Rajasthan. Founder Govind Singh Rathore is working against centuries of tradition to help create a safe and welcome space that helps the neediest of all in this regional area. The passion of Govind Rathore Singh & his team of partners is to create change and help young girls, teenagers, women and families out of a life of subsistence and prove that girls are worthy and can contribute equally as well as the men in India.
Our first visit to the Sambhali Trust was with our daughter aged 15 years and was as an eye opener for her and us, since that time we have continued to support this grassroots organization on the edge of the Thar Desert. There are approximately 16 different projects running under the umbrella of Sambhali – click here for further details. The main office, boarding house, schools and facilities are located in Jodhpur and the majority of volunteers are needed here – but many of the families who are being helped live 100 kilometers from here in a small village called Sewrata – where you can also volunteer.
Still today it is very difficult in for female children of these families to escape a hard and uncertain future due to the nature of the hierarchical caste system in India – but even more so in regional areas like Rajasthan.
Elements I Love… contributes a proportion of all sales of Indian pieces to the trust account. By simply buying something that you love for your home you will contribute & make a difference to these girls lives. We have been donating with a focus on the younger girls in the Sheerni Project – it costs $1000 per year to support one young girl for a whole year covering the costs of health care, education, accommodation and food.
To learn about Sambhali we spent a day with founder Govind Sing Rathore, driving around in his antique ambassador, complete with interior curtains. We visited many of the Projects that this small NGO has developed, first stop was the Empowerment Centre where women come for a one year vocational training giving them both skills and confidence. On the way, literally in traffic we ended up chatting with Monica & sisters on their way home from school, these girls are part of the Scholarship Project and then we made a brief stop at the Sewing Centre before heading out to visit the girls from Sheerni Educational Programme.
We were very inspired by the work of the trust. The women themselves and the role it has to potentially change the circumstances of a future generation of young girls from very underprivileged families in the heart of Rajasthan. It didn’t take long to realise that it costs very little to make a difference. For example to support one girl at the Scholarship Project for a whole year including her uniforms, books, school supplies, tuition and transportation to and from school costs approx $350 AUD.
These photos below are from 2012 ~our first visit to the boarding house to meet the girls. Sambhali Trust has been integral along with support from local families to create and provide a safe environment for them (Sheerni Educational Program) to live, be cared for and go to school each day. The boarding house relies on self funded volunteers who come & live in Jodhpur & help the girls everyday with their homework, other after school activities as well as teaching them a range of other skills. If you are interested in a unique volunteering experience in India see here
Elements i love…is looking forward to following the girls and the challenges that they face along the way. Thanks to those of you who have purchased Indian pieces in the past & have encouraged us with your kind words of support.
To gain more insight about the hardships that Indian women face, here is an extract from a study done about small mines and quarries in India; “The patriarchal nature of the mining economy has determined a low status for all women involved in khadan work, and has assigned them the heaviest, and most monotonous, of jobs with the least security and most risks. Without the hard work put in by women workers, many of the quarries would not operate. However, there is little recognition of the fact that women are exploited at every level, whether at home or at work. The work in the quarries, although manual, is elaborate and may involve several stages, each completed distinctively by both men and women. Being entirely informal in nature, the quarrying industry does not offer any benefits related to these jobs; diseases like tuberculosis and asthma are common and cause early deaths. The adivasi labourers are not tied to any particular quarry and tend to move from one to another. The quarry-owners do not offer any medical facility, and the nearest hospital is many kilometers away. “