Updates of all activities of Saheli Trust, Dehra Dun, India
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Dear Everyone,
February has been busy time for all of us, with school exams around the corner, studies are at peak for the children of the Saheli Shelter. Ganga, one of the elder girls in the shelter in Class 12, had her pre-board exams in Feb and was neck deep in her studies. Hema, who is doing her MBA was also heading into her end Semister exams beginning March and so the entire atmosphere in the shelter was that of studies.
One of the biggest steps we have taken in the Saheli Self Help Group is the shifting of our Kiosk in Pacific Mall to the most prime location in the mall. From near one of the entrances, we have shifted to the center of the Mall and have branded our products under the name of "Marali" which means "Swan" in Sanskrit.

Our sales increased dramatically almost immediately after the shift but will the increased sales match the increased rent of the kiosk, is something which remains to be seen. It is a big gamble we have taken but we are quite sure that it will. Aakriti Bisht, who is the Assistant Project Manager of the Self Help Group has been working with extra vigor to make our venture successful. We need your best wishes, which i'm sure we are blessed with.
This month we had another roadside meeting in slums called Azad Colony near Inter State Bus Terminal . The area marked with really narrow streets and extremely poor people is home to around 480 families. Hardly 10% of the girls in the area get education of any sort. We also came across an elderly lady who was greatly harassed by her two daughters, primarily for her husband's pension. We will try and help her out of the situation.
The story of Shagun
This 21 year old mother of 11 month baby, came to us for help, after being left by her husband after one year of marriage. Married off at the age of 19 years, immediately after her Class 12, Shagun faced extreme physical and mental abuse for the only year she lived with her husband after which she was dumped at her mother's home when she was 7 months pregnant. With no one to guide her, Shagun had been running from pillar to post with no help.

A friend brought her to Saheli. After motivating her to take charge of her own life, we got Shagun a job in a school, and offered her 11 month son free care at Saheli's Little Angle Creche. We will also be helping Shagun file for compensation and divorce from her husband.
Message from the Secretary
Greetings from Saheli,

February has been wonderful month for us, we upped our Self Help Group by branding it under the name of "Marali" and moving the kiosk to a much more prime location, a dream which we dreamt of for a long time.

Bagirath, the 12 year old boy, one of the 4 siblings who survived the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, celebrated the first birthday of his life on 28th Feb, this year. We had no records of his birth, since everything was washed away and there was no one alive who would remember, so we gave him a date of birth, approximately to what we could figure out, and held the first birthday party of Bagirath's life. One week prior to the date, you could see the excitement on his face and it was so heart warming to see him cut the first cake of his life.

If you've been following our activities, you would know we have 2 new orphan girls who have just finished Class 12 and are to go to college from May 2016. They will be doing B.Commerce and plan to join a bank after the 3 year course. We are looking for sponsors for them. If you'd like to help out, please let me know by replying to this email. We would need INR 5000 per month for their college, food and personal expenses. If you know someone who can help out, please do let them know.

Another 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.

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...
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