Updates of all activities of Saheli Trust, Dehra Dun, India
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Dear Everyone,

July has been a very tense month for us, lurching from one deadline to another. With God's grace and your support, we managed to overcome most of the obstacles. It is a miracle, how people you have never met personally, go out of their way to help you when you need them the most.
Updates on Laali
If you've been following our newsletter, you'll know that Sonali ( Pet name: Laali), a 9 year old girl was rescued by Childline and brought to us last month. She was sold by her parents in West Bengal to a family in Choila village on the outskirts of Dehradun, who made her beg near ISBT Dehradun. She was beaten up mercilessly, as can be judged from scars on her forehead and back.

Initially Laali was very stubborn, refusing to obey the Warden and sulking. Gradually with love and patience, she opened up and roughly 3 weeks after she came to us, Sonali was admitted in Class 1, a nearby English Medium School.

The change in her was dramatic.
Our first batch of 10 girls from Buddhi Village, passed out of our "Education at your Doorstep" program. They and those who taught them, enjoyed the month and a half long interaction, and hopefully we managed to sensitize these girls on issues of gender equality and domestic violence. Hopefully when they have children, they will treat them in a better way than they themselves have been treated.

After the 6 week course, most of the girls were able to introduce themselves in English and understand simple sentences. We wish we could have continued the classes for 3 weeks, but financial constraints and lack of sponsors, made us curtail our plans. Hopefully, we will revisit this village at a later date, when we manage to find sponsors.
Outreach programs
We had two outreach programs this month, the first on in Shastri Nagar (picture above) and the second one in a village adjacent GMS Road (picture below). During both the meetings we focused on domestic violence, gender equality and the rights of women in today's India.
Updates on Riya
If you remember we had rescued a 19 year old girl from a village near Premnagar who was virtually kept a s a prisioner. We celebrated her birthday this month and also got her admitted in Government Girl's Inter college, in Class 12. Her parents refused to give her school documents so getting duplicate documents issued was a big challagne, the issue being very pressing since the last date of filling up of Board Forms was 20th July.

This is when we realized how immensly helpful people can be when you are doing a good deed. Friends of friends and even total strangers went out of their way in helping us secure the documents, without which Ria would have lost an academic year. People even visited Ria's home in the village to try and convince them to hand over the documents so that Ria could study. Just two days before the last date, Ria's parents relented and gave us the documents. The stress during the preceeding week was literally palpable in us and in Ria, but thankfully everything ended well. Our heart felt thanks to journalist Mohit Dimri and our friend Nidhi Aswal for their role in securing the docoments.

And I must add, that Ria is extremely serious about studies, studying late into nights and I'm sure she'll make all of us proud one day.
Message from the Secretary
Dear Everyone,

July has been a month none of us will forget easily. The stress and the elation of getting Ria admitted in school is something straight from a Bollywood potboiler movie, moves and countermoves with the parents resisting all our attempts at getting the duplicate marksheets from the school and not giving the originals which they themselves had. Finally when i held the documents in my hands just 2 days before the last date of submitting the Class 12 Board forms, that was a surreal moment.

Five of our girls joined college this month, Ganga joined Bachleors of Social Work from IGNOU, Ayushi Rana BA English, Vaishai BCom & Sushimita BA Geography all in SGRR College & Shruti Arya B.Comm in DAV College. Getting 5 girls in a college is not an easy job, but with your support, we managed it quite well.

Finally, as I always say, we would love to have your feedback, both negative and positive, because that is what helps us grow. Please do not hesitate to comment, all you need to do is to reply to this email. Your words mean a lot to us, so please don't hesitate.

And the invitation to visit our shelter is there for everyone. Please do spare some time and come and feel the spirit of Saheli.

With regards,

Shruti Kaushik,
Secretary, Saheli

...and in the end...
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