Education, women’s economic empowerment, livelihood, sanitation are important factors affecting the health of the community. Gram Seva believes in comprehensive approach to community development. Hence we also started different rural development projects in the surrounding villages.
Education is one of the factors that affect health status of individuals, families and villages. It also affects the development of villages.
Parodh (which means Dawn) aims to provide formal education to children of poor, tribal, migrant workers or broken families or difficult situations. Along with education the centre also strives for their overall development and inculcate values and hence different activities are implemented to achieve this aim, like kitchen gardening, cooking and cleaning activities, yoga and exercises, educational films, library, sports, summer camps, excursions etc.
Parodh Balawas was started in 2008 with 21 children in Khaparia village in a rented facility. A new residential facility with a capacity of 100 students has been built. The new Parodh Balawas building is a green building with eco-friendly measures taken to reduce, reuse and recycle water, energy and waste. At present 75 students are residing in Parodh Balawas.
Trustees and well wishers like Shri Chaganbhai Naik ( Gandeva) and his family and Gram Seva Foundation (U.S.A.) and its donors have funded and supported this project with missionary zeal.
The quality of primary education in the surrounding villages was poor. Children of landless labourers did not attend school regularly. They were lacking in their reading, writing and arithmetic skills. Hence it was decided to support them with tutorials in villages to strengthen their primary education. And at the same time give value education to them. About 14 tutorial classes in different villages are giving education to about 260 tribal children.
Women of the families need to be empowered to for the development of the families and improve their health. Gram Seva conducts various projects for the empowerment of women and young girls.
School dropout rate is high in girls after the 8th and 9th grades. Hence Gram Seva started sewing classes for young women. A six month course is developed which teaches the young women sewing skills from the basics. Till date more than 1000 girls have completed this course and provide economic support to their families.
Women from surrounding villages are trained to manufacture handicrafts and household toiletries. The products made by these women are sold through a retail outlet in the campus and exhibitions and sales in various fairs and gatherings.
Majority of the young girls and women in surrounding villages are still using old rags for their menstruation. The main reason being high cost of commercial sanitary napkins and also lack of availability in villages. To address this issue and also provide income generation activity to women, Gram Seva started the Sangee Sanitary Napkin Project. Women are trained to manufacture low cost, eco friendly, non allergic sanitary napkins. At the same time women in the villages are encouraged to become depot holders so that the napkins are easily available in the village falias( hamlets). At present 25 women are making and selling Sangee Sanitary Napkins and supporting their families. Health awareness sessions are also conducted in schools and villages to improve the menstrual hygiene of young women.
Gram Seva has started the Nutrition Garden project where women from 50 families are trained in growing nutritious vegetables (especially rich in minerals like iron etc) in their kitchen garden. They are also provided seeds and other guidance and support during this project. This project was aimed to serve the dual objective of improving the nutritional status of the families and economic support by sale of the vegetables.
Sakhi Mandals are micro savings and credit groups of women in the villages. These groups need trainings regarding the objectives of the groups, its functioning and teamwork. Gram Seva has been selected by the District Rural Development Agency to train the Sakhi Mandals and their federations.
Gram Seva Trust built low cost toilets in villages with combined efforts of government funds, beneficiary contribution and voluntary donors. To date 135 toilets have been built. But since last few years the government has independently started to build toilets in villages so we have stopped building toilets but we still aim to increase awareness in community regarding sanitation and hygiene and improve the health of the community.