Updates of all activities of Saheli Trust, Dehra Dun, India
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Dear Everyone,
Greetings from Saheli. Let me begin with an apology, for missing the January Newsletter. Things have been going on so rapidly all around that I simply could not sit down and collect my thoughts. So, I do hope you'll forgive me for that and here is a newsletter for both the months.

Read on ....
Beginning with good news first, 7 years old Shivam, one of our youngest children, won a Gold Medal in his school sports and was really thrilled showing it off to everyone. Shivam is an exceptionally bright boy, topping his class in exams and very active physically also. Plus those of us who have met him, he has a lovely voice and sings very well too.
In a new experience for us, for the first time in last 3 years, we visited a predominantly Muslim village about 15 kms outside Dehradun. Gathering the women and talking to them was a task in itself but as things later turned out, it was worth it. The meeting was held under the eyes of men who were literally sniggering at us, but we carried on despite attempts by the men to turn it into a joke.

The good part was that we realized how ruthlessly suppressed these women were and that they really needed help. Some of the girls here were denied schooling after Class 10, simply because there was no facility available in their own village and the girls were forbidden to go outside the village. After much cajoling and a bit of pushing, we got a volunteer to prepare for us a list of girls who we can teach in the village itself.

This village would probably be the first village we adopt in our "Education at your doorstep" campaign, whenever it starts, hopefully in not too distant a future.
Vaishali
Close to the heels of Shruti Arya, the girl who came to us from Bal Vinitha Ashram, one of the oldest orphanages in Dehradun, another girl in the orphanage refused to get married and insisted on studying further and came to us for help.

Vaishali Thappa joined our Saheli family in January. She is 18 years old and wants to work and stand on her own feet before getting married. She has studied upto Class 12 and we plan to send her to college in the session beginning April, this year.

She plans to do Commerce and join a bank after completing her studies. We are looking for someone to sponsor her college education, which is a bit expensive from Indian standards. If you'd like to help us educate Vaishali, please do reply to this email or contact us, we'll send you more details about Vaishali.
EDUCATION AT YOUR DOORSTEP -- Last 8 days for campaign to finish.
Education at your doorstep, as the name suggests aims at educating rural girls at their own homes. In India, mostly in rural areas half of the adolescent girls are denied of education and are forced to halt their further studies mainly because their parents don't want them to go to a regular school and even if some of the parents want to send them the schools are very far from the villages. So, there is very less scope for the girls to go out and continue their studies further. Saheli is actively considering stepping in and teaching such girls in their own villages.

We be forming "Girls Power Club" in 10 different villages, with hopefully 10 girls in each club. Apart from teaching them English and Computers we will also educate them about their about their legal rights. Each club will last for 3 months, so that we cover different villages in the next 3 years.

We have sponsors who will fund the project provided we have our own hardware. It would be very difficult for us to teach them Computers without laptops. We need 5 laptops, 1 for 2 girls which costs a lot and it would be very difficult to take PC door to door and village to village. We need to buy 5 laptops and 5 Microsoft Office. We are sure with your help we would be able to start with this project soon. We have started a crowd funding drive. We need to raise 3.25 lakhs and till now we have generated Rs. 65,50/- only. Please do help out. Unfortunately this crowdfunding site only accepts Indian donations, so if you wish to help out and you live abroad, please reply to this mail and we'll contact you.

To donate, please click the link below:

https://www.bitgiving.com/project/index/id/BIT342

Another suburb of Dehradun we visited this month is known as "Mecca Masjid" Colony, where while women were comparatively more aware about their rights but they did face substantial restrictions. Besides distributing our Women's Helpline Number we sounded them out on our efforts at village level teaching and they seemed interested. It will require a few more visits to the colony to gain their trust and start teaching them.
Message from the Secretary
Greetings from Saheli,

Much has been happening since our last newsletter in December. Shivani, the girl we rescued in September last year was reunited with her mother. If you remember 15 year old Shivani, who belonged to a village 50 kms away from Dehradun was working as a domestic help in the city and her employer used to sexually abuse her for the last 7 years. While legal proceedings were initiated against the employer, Shivani's mother finally realized her fault and when the mother daughter met, it was a heart melting scene with the two hugging each other and crying. The judge in the case also felt that perhaps the Mother Daughter bonding would be the best way forwards and so Shivani finally left with her mother for her home, which she had left 8 years ago, to earn for the family. Hopefully this story will have a wonderful ending.

Our efforts to educate unemployed and uneducated youth as Sales executives bore fruit with the passing out of the first two batches of students under the Prime Minister Skill Development Program, conducted by the government National Skill Development Council. Their exams were help in the middle of January and results should be out this month. What is more wonderful is that most of these children have got employment even before the exam results were out. That is the most awesome part of the entire program. Currently the third batch is under way and we plan to expand it gradually covering more areas and more children.

A request i would like to make to everyone is to please forward this email to your friends and relatives, so that they could be aware of our work. More the people involved, more encouragement and ideas will we get and things would only get better. So, please do forward our newsletters to those in your address book.

Also I would like to appeal to everyone is to help us out with donations. You can "adopt" a child for Rs 3000/- per month, for as long as you like. You can stop the donations as and when you wish, no questions asked. This amount of Rs 3000/- includes Rs 800/- for studies, Rs 2000/- for food and Rs 200/- towards personal expenses. Details of ways to donate are here:

http://www.sahelitrust.com/donate.asp

Please remember, each rupee counts and please don't think that there are many "others" who will help us. Do help us yourself too. We now have 80G, so you get tax benefit too.

And finally, a big request to everyone is to please help us grow by giving us advice on the way forwards, by pointing out our mistakes and by suggesting new ideas to us. Please do not hesitate in criticizing anything you don't like. All you need to do is to reply to this newsletter. And if you live in Dehradun, or if you ever visit our city, my earnest appeal to you is to visit us. Do call me and I shall be honored to arrange a visit for you. My number is +91-9760371958.

With regards,

Shruti Kaushik,
Secretary, Saheli

...and in the end...
If you missed the back issues of our newsletter, please follow this link to see our past issues:

http://www.sahelitrust.com/newsletters.asp

See The Saheli Movie
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