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

Let's begin with an apology. The April issue of Saheli Newsletter never came out. To be very honest, with so much going on, we could barely get time to eat our meals & writing a newsletter was way out of question. I'm sure you'll agree with it, work is the first priority, newsletters come second. 

Do scroll through this newsletter to get the complete picture what Saheli has been upto in the months of April and May 2014.
This was a proud moment for all of us. In April, two of our workers opened a bank account for the first time in their lives. On the left is Alka and Kavita is the one on your right. Both have been with us for about a year now, and finally they felt a need to start saving. They are seen in this picture brandishing their passbooks. 

Both of them have promised to deposit INR 500/- per month from their earnings and we will make sure they follow up on their resolution.
The entire month of April was spent competing in an online Grant Competition for NGOs organized by a portal called Gudville. At stake was the first prize of INR 5,00,000/-. We went from college to college, various marketplaces and also campaigned hard online through emails and social media sites. After one grueling month, during which we barely even ate our lunch, we managed to get support of around 2300 people and came first. But because we got around 2300 supporters, we got INR 1,00,000/- as the prize. For INR 5,00,000/- we needed over 5000 supporters which we couldn't. This campaign was run for Saheli Women's Shelter and the entire prize money will go into it. We plan to start a similar campaign in the month of June for our Self Help Group too.  
"Talk Fest" on Domestic Violence
A Talk Fest on 'Domestic Violence' was organized in Kukreja Insititute of Teachers Education, which was attended by around 90 budding teachers.The event was organized by our brand ambassador, Ina Bahaguna and eminent speakers like ex Protection Officer Ramindri Manderwal & Bimal Raturi spoke at length on the issue. The girls listened really attentively and the question answer session lasted over an hour.
Saheli Women's Shelter
After a month of hard search, we were finally able to appoint a Warden for our Women's Shelter. We interviewed over a dozen candidates until we zeroed in on Kiran, the one in blue in the picture. The Saheli Women's Shelter is now fully functional and waiting for the arrival of our first resident. As you may
know, it is located in Pithuwala Village on the outskirts of Dehradun and is capable of holding 8 women. Both our warden, Kiran, and her assistant, Deepa, are very active and motivated workers. Deepa is a grandmother of 6 children and stays in a village house next to the Shelter and is thrilled to have her first job at the age of 64. 

Now that we are all set, we have informed a number of social welfare organizations, the police and a number of other prominent people about the shelter being active. We did get one application from a women who was being harassed and beaten up by her husband, but since we could settle her in her own mother's home, (it took a simple telephone call to convince the mother) she went there. Because of limitations of our funds and holding capacity, we would prefer to help those women who have nowhere to go. 
Batik Workshop 
A workshop on Batik painting was held for members of Chandrabani Self Help Group. It was conducted by Naina Jain & Arif Hussain, students of IILM School of Design, Gurgaon. This three days workshop was really fruitful to the members as we plan to start making Batik bags and dresses.
Huff & Puff.....
A last minute order from Inner Wheel Club Dehradun, sent members of our Self Help Group in a tizzy. They wanted 700 hand made paper bags in just two days. And the best part is, we met the deadline ! This was thanks to our ladies, who put in upto 16 hours of work per day. At the end of it, we were tired, hungry, sleep deprived, with aching fingers and legs, but happy. A job well done, a challange well met.
Message from the Secretary
Greetings from Saheli,

Saheli completed one year of it's existence last month but we were too busy to even pause and think about celebrating. Frankly speaking, that i personally feel is the best way of celebrating our birthday, by working even harder. So many things have happened in the last two months, that it is hard to even recollect at one go all that has happened.

Our women are very hard working and pick up new skills quite easily. Its a great asset to  have such people. After the batik workshop, we should soon start making ladies suits and handbags. The single most important challenge we face is in marketing. Direct sales, online sales, sales to friends and relatives, simply do not give the required volume. If anyone can help us in marketing, if you know a retail shop or a retail network, please do let us know. Also, we need to hire a shop for ourselves and to raise funds for that we are entering an online competition in Gudville. If possible, i would request everyone to please click the support button at the bottom of this newsletter and help us. We need around INR 7,00,000 /- or $12,000/- to see us through the first year of our retail shop, after which hopefully, it will become self sustaining. I would like to request everyone to please do help us by donating, even a little amount will go a long way for us, the details are here.

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. 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...
To generate funds, we are participating in an online competition for a grant. The website is called Gudville and is meant for Indian NGOs working at the grass root level. You need to sign in with your Facebook or Linkedin ID. They ask for your permission to access your public profile, please do click OK. After this click the "I support Saheli" button and wait for the Thank you page to load fully. In the Thank you page, if you rate some brands then we get INR 10/- extra. 

Please do take the trouble. It just takes maximum two minutes. Please start by clicking the red button below.
Please support Saheli
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