The centre allows women and girls aged 10 to 30 years old to attend a one-year course of vocational training in sewing, embroidery and block-printing as well as tutoring in English & Maths.
Every week a special workshop offers different subjects such as cultural studies, geography, health or computers, giving the women a well-rounded and diverse education and allows the opportunity
to explore where their talents and interests lie.
The Sambhali Scholarship Project was set up to support children from poorer backgrounds whose parents can not afford an education for their children. Through
individual sponsorship, girls and boys are now able to gain a quality education in private schools in Jodhpur and Setrawa village. For some of these children, this will be their first form of
education, even though some are over 12 years old. All participants of the Scholarship Project are enrolled in a school located close to their homes and attend for 4 hours every day. They are
educated in a broad range of topics including English, Maths, Science, General Knowledge and Social Studies.
Historically, the Dalit communities have had very few employment opportunities other than jobs regarded as impure or degrading - Dalit women are generally employed as manual labourers to sweep streets or clean latrines and sewers.
On 22nd February 2012, Sambhali Trust opened the Graduate Sewing Centre in Jodhpur, giving disadvantaged women of Rajasthan an employment opportunity that would boost their self respect and confidence rather than diminish it, and enable them to create a sustainable flow of income to help raise themselves out of poverty. The Centre currently provides 15 women with paid employment, producing goods for 'Sambhali Boutique', located in central Jodhpur. The women are between 20-45 years old, and many of them came directly from our Sambhali Empowerment Centres after learning arts and crafts techniques in the centres one year training program. Now they are able to use their acquired skills to generate their own income by making products for our Boutique, as well as national & international orders. Volunteers and Staff work closely with the women to ensure that the items produced are of excellent quality.
Many underprivileged girls have the potential to be exceptional students, but aren't given the opportunity or encouragement to explore their capabilities and discover their unique talents, especially if they live in rural areas.
The Sambhali Sheerni Education Programme was established in May 2012, and was designed to enable poorer girls,who have no chance of an education in their own village, to attend school on a daily basis. The programme provides accommodation in a family-run boarding home in Jodhpur for 20 girls from the villages of Setrawa, Shergarh, Solankiyatala and Balesar, enabling them to receive a quality education in a private secondary school nearby. The girls are aged between 6 -15 years old.
Girls from disadvantaged backgrounds are often prevented from going to school because of their domestic duties at home, especially if their school is not nearby. Girls are often treated as child labour, supporting their mother by doing housework from a young age, and helping to care for younger siblings. Because of the loss of the girls household labour during school hours, the opportunity costs linked to sending girls to school are significant on poor households, especially as it is often viewed as a waste of resources with no long term gain. This means that as they grow into women, they are unable to read or write and have lost their chance to be educated. To address these issues, the Brothers for Sisters Empowerment Centre was established in an extremely deprived area of Jodhpur, where 90% of the women are illiterate and there is high unemployment. By opening an educational centre in the women and girls neighbourhood, Sambhali minimised their time spent away from home, encouraging their family to allow them to gain an education.
The 'Brothers for Sisters Sewing Centre' was opened on 15 August 2013, adjacent to the Brothers for Sisters Empowerment Centre. In August, the women and girls in the Empowerment Centre had finished nearly 6 months of training - 10 of the women were selected to begin producing goods in the Sewing Centre. They have a dedicated tutor as well as an experienced foreign volunteer, who help them refine their skills and teach them how to make a variety of products that can be sold in 'Sambhali Boutique'. The women are paid on a piece-rate basis and according to the level of skill acquired, which means they are able to manage the amount of income they generate.
In Setrawa and the surrounding villages, women are disadvantaged with illiteracy and little recognition for their capabilities, meaning they receive unequal access to material and human capital. Dalit women and widows in particular have little opportunity to work their way out of poverty.
The Sheerni Self-Help Group Project was established to help these women, by providing them with a means of saving money and access to loans, thus enabling them to create small enterprises of their own and work towards financial independence. Women are also given financial training, preparing them for production and business management, and enhancing their personal growth and self-esteem. The SHG Project was created in October 2009, in the villages of Setrawa and Solankiyatala, 110km from Jodhpur. Through classes and loans, the Sheerni SHG Project enables women to recognize the potential, possibilities and alternatives that exist in their lives, and gives them the resources to pursue their goals. Currently this program includes around 85% Dalit women, many of them widows, whose husbands have died working in the stone quarries.
Setrawa is a small desert village of around 3,000 inhabitants, 110km from Jodhpur. Located in the harsh environment of the Thar desert, inhabitants face water shortages, crop failures, debt and sickness which creates a vicious circle of poverty, disease and loss of productivity. The majority of the population is employed in agriculture or mining, and working for survival often takes priority over getting an education, especially if children have to travel great distances to reach educational facilities. The overall literacy rate is therefore very low with only 8% of females able to read and write.
The Setrawa Empowerment Centre was opened in 2007 to give the children of Setrawa access to good educational facilities, helping them to work their way out of poverty. The centre provides both an after-school programme for 60 children aged 4 to 14 years old, and a programme for uneducated children to learn basic Hindi, Maths and English as well as washing facilities for those with no access to water in their homes. Every Saturday, the centre holds an educational workshop on different subjects (e.g. geography, recycling, drama) which is open to family and friends of the children, helping the development and elevation of the whole community. The centre also provides a sewing class for the older girls to learn vocational skills.
Sambhali aims to provide an Emergency Medical and Legal Support Service which helps women (and their families) throughout Rajasthan, who are unable to afford emergency medical treatment or legal representation.
Through the Emergency Provision Fund, we aim to provide emergency support in cases of critical need; this may cover emergency medical care, diagnosis, emergency medication, ambulance transport, emergency shelter accommodation and other similar critical expenses. The aim is to provide critical needs assistance and once the situation has stabilised, the person is transferred if necessary to Government services or other suitable organisations operating in Jodhpur. The Legal Support Fund would be available to pay for legal costs in matters of divorce, for those suffering from or at risk of domestic abuse, forced marriage and similar situations, who are unable to afford to pay for legal expenses. The Nirbhaya Help Line is a Toll-Free HelpLine, established in 2014 covering the whole of Rajasthan and available 10.00am-7.00pm. A member of Sambhali’s staff will be able to offer advice and counselling on issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse as well as providing help with medical emergencies and legal support. Callers living around Jodhpur can be helped directly while those from other cities in Rajasthan are directed to other suitable local services.