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

October was a month of festivals with two major festivals, Deepawali (or Festival of Lights) & Dusshera ( a festival to mark victory of truth over evil) falling this month. Children of our Shelter
Finally, the moment we waited 2 years for !
One of the most important festivals in the Hindu Calendar is Deepawali or Diwali and the children were naturally excited about it from a long time before the actual date. During the festival the house is cleaned inside out and decorated with lights.

A group of college students who go by the name of "Ehsaas" ( or Feeling) volunteered and prepared a short half hour presentation of song, dance & a play. Chief Guest on the occasion was Mrs Mamta Vohra, Superintendent of Police, seen in the center in a blue saree. She really appreciated the show and was all praises for the children. The two girls seen in T-Shirts on the right in the above picture, were members of the group, while in the front row from left to right, dressed up in costumes, are Saheli children - Shivam, Prakash, Bani, Bhagirath and on the extreme right is Pushpa.
Update on Prakash
After struggling for 2 years, Prakash is now hale & hearty. After undergoing two surgeries last month, Prakash has recovered well and the hole in his neck is almost healed. He has been taking part in celebrations and other activities along with all the other children. He can be seen in the picture dressed up as a Hindu Saint, in a play.

His voice is still feeble though and the treating doctors have said that it should improve gradually over a period of time.
Outreach programs
In October we visited a village on outskirts of Dehradun called Mecca Masjid village, which is inhabited predominantly by Muslims. The area is quite backwards and suppression of women is severe. Most of us felt that this area needed particular attention and we plan to start informal education classes in the village as soon as possible.
MARALI - Our Self Help Group
October being festival time is also time for opportunities for Marali, our Self Help Group. Through out the month work at the SHG was in an over drive with the women working overtime trying to cope up with excess demand. Almost everything they made was sold out. We held a number of exhibitions in Dehradun and for the first time we held an exhibition in Delhi Haat, a Government operated handicraft exhibition area in the center of New Delhi. The response in Delhi was tremendous and everything was sold out. Thread lamps made by our women were bought and used for decoration in Premium lounges in Delhi, Banglore & Hyderabad Airports. A big achievement for our women.
Message from the Secretary
Dear Everyone,

October has been a very hectic month for all of us in Saheli. The Self Help Group has been working in over drive and we have been able to give a small festival cash bonus to our women workers. The smiles on their face were worth a million dollars.

I would like to share with everyone an issue regarding our Saheli Shelter. As you know the Shelter is in a rented accommodation, we give a rent of Rs 15,400 ($230.00) per month, which is substantial given our limited resources. Another issue with rented accommodation is the uncertainty about future. Typically tenancy in India is regulated by a mutual agreement between the land owner & the tenant and the duration is 11 months. The treat of being asked to vacate after the period always hangs over our heads and believe me, it is very very difficult to find a house on rent for a shelter. Most home owners refuse point blank when they are told that a shelter will be working in the house. Plus because of limited accommodation, 4 rooms for 14 children, we are now forced to refuse admission to new children, who need help.

Because of all these issues, we have been feeling a need for having our own home, a building built specifically designed to be a shelter so that more children can be accommodated in the same area. We need land, roughly 300 sq.yd, which should cost Rs 35 lakhs ( approximately $52,000) . Once we have the land, Oil & Natural Gas Commission of India has indicted they would be willing to fund the construction of a shelter for us. We are trying to raise funds for the land and we need your support. Please let me know if you would like to help out or if you know anyone who can help. Any lead will be greatly appreciated.

Also, I would like to request everyone to please spread the word about us. If you feel our work is good, please tell your friends and acquaintances about us. The more people know about us, the more likely are we to get support. So, I would like to request you to please forward this newsletter to such people.

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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