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

September has been nice, with many new challenges and many new victories. With love and blessings of all of you, we've managed to make some difference in lives. Saheli Women's Shelter is now overflowing with more inmates than we planned, but with God's grace, we are doing fine. In fact, we have now started a hunt for a bigger building so that we have the capacity to  help more people.
Right at the beginning of the month, we celebrated the 14th birthday of Jamuna, one of the four siblings orphaned in the Uttarakhand Disaster of 2013. It was the first time in years someone celebrated her birthday and it was an emotional moment for her. She is studying in Class 7 in a nearby school and is doing fairly well in academics.
September was the month when Saheli Women's Self Help Group launched a unique product, handicraft wall clocks. These beautiful wall clocks are hand painted using traditional Indian designs. They come to you with one year guarantee and are ideal for gifts, costing only INR 1,000/- . If you'd like to have them, do reply to this email. Remember each Saheli product you buy, brings smile on a woman's face.

If you live in Dehradun, they are available in Mehta Watch Company, just ask for Saheli Wall Clocks to see a wide range.
Vaishanavi, the only daughter of Sushama, a victim of domestic violence, who we have talked about a lot in our previous newsletters, also celebrated her birthday this month. Due to severe violence at home, Sushma decided to celebrate the birthday with members of Saheli Self Help Group, which she is a part of, so we all got together, pooled in money and gave the child a small party. As you can see from the picture, Vaishnavi was thrilled. If you remember both the mother and daughter stay in one room, in which they cook and live, and are severely harassed by her in laws.
Awareness campaign against domestic violence
On 12th September , a meeting of women was organized in  Kailashpur village, near Dehradun, to discuss the issue of domestic violence and ways to help victims of such violence. Around 25 women attended the meeting and two admitted to abuse at home. Later an awareness rally was taken out through the village and pamphlets on the issue distributed. Saheli's Women Helpline Number ( +91-9760371958) was prominently advertized.
The story of Prakash.....

9 year Prakash was brought to us by Child helpline Nanital today. He used to work as a servant in a family, after his father, who also worked with the family, ran away leaving Prakash to fend for himself. Prakash does not remember ever seeing his mother.

In May this year, Prakash was attacked by a leopard and though he survived, his voice box was damaged because of which a tube had to be inserted into his throat, so that he could breathe (Tracheostomy).

After the attack, the family he was living with stopped even feeding him and left him to die. Child helpline Nanital rescued him and since there is no shelter in the region he was brought to Dehradun and given to us.

At the time of writing this newsletter, Prakash has been with us for a week. We have got his tracheostomy tube removed and he is slowly healing. In about another week, we should be able to start sending him to school.

The above picture is of Prakash when he came to us, the left one below, is after a few days and on the right is a picture of his in the hospital when the tube was removed.

Another sad story

A 17 year old girl, Ayushi, sent to us by the Women's helpline. Ayushi was brought up by her aunt in Lucknow, and married off to a person in Raiwala few months ago. She says she was severely mistreated and she ran off from her inlaws house. Her aunt was furious and threatened to get her killed. Ayushi then resorted to selling herself to sustain herself and kept shifting from one PG to another, as she had no valid ID.

In desperation she called up the Women's helpline and then was brought to us. She initially wanted a certificate from us stating that she is staying with us, on basis of which she would get a job and on basis of that job a place to stay but she refused to stop selling herself.

After hours of counselling, crying & arguing, she started trusting us and realizing that we did not want anything from her and would help her only. After a few days she started going to work in a local hospital as a trainee nurse and is presently very happy.

We need to also get her legal opinion to get her marriage annuled since she was married off below the minimum legally permissible age.

Her picture is not being put up here to protect her identity.
Message from the Secretary
Greetings from Saheli,

September has been an interesting mixture of tension and happiness. Tension when new challenges come upon us and we wonder if our work will pay off in the end, which i must admit, it always does. Rehabilitating a former sex worker is not easy and this being our first case, gave us plenty of anxious moments.

As of now, our Saheli Women's Shelter has 2 adult women, 4 adolescent girls and 4 young children, making a total of 10, in a shelter designed for 8. The ease and love with which all of them cooperate with each other and help each other is amazing and needs to be seen to believed. Sharing experiences makes everyone realize that there are other people too who have undergone similar if not worse trauma and this gives them strength to make their life better.

This is now our sixth newsletter. Unfortunately the feed back we get from everyone who reads it is sparse. We wold love even if you send a one line feed back by simply replying to this email. Give us your views, suggestions and criticism. It will make us happy. f 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.

Finally a big request. Please forward this email to your friends and relatives. Help us in spreading word about our work. The more people know about us, the more suggestions we will get and our work will improve. So, please after reading this, forward it to your contacts.

With regards,

Shruti Kaushik,
Secretary, Saheli

...and in the end...
If you missed the back issues of our newsletter, please follow these links:

August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
April & May 2014
March 2014
February 2014
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