Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Community meeting in Tiuni

With the start of our Retrieving Women's Pride Project in Jhitaar and Baanpur, a group of women meet on 17th June 2017, to discuss the intervention and their role in it.

Baanpur meeting

Women meeting with pradhan ji (Village headman), in preparation of Retrieving Women's Pride project, near Tiuni.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Retrieving Women's Pride- project.

RWP project is about reducing workload on women, empowering them and building up their natural resource base thru watershed inputs - in two gram panchayats near Tiuni (Baanpur and Jhitaad), on border of Uttarakhand and Himachal pradesh.

We had our first orientation meeting in the Vikasnagar office today - 13th June 2017. This project was delayed because of delays in our FCRA renewal. We have received FCRA renewal now and we will be making good speed now on various community level activities. First step will be to discuss, share with community and encouarge them to make a committee to implement the project. 

Early rains..

Few days ago, I was caught without woolens in Jakhdhar. It rained and then it became very cold - suddenly. But my Glacier training in ITBP came to my rescue and I knew what to do. Rains washed everything clean and the mountainside was green again..

Then, when I returned to Vikasnagar, I smelled early winter in the morning. A change of seasons is around, I feel. Dhaneshwari ji has been working on the grounds- and here is what a Sycus plant in the lawns looks like - thanks to her work. 

Growing up

A child- Arnav - was on SMTA campus a few days back. One day, when I heard a shrill excited voice coming from somewhere near the dogs on the grounds - I went out to investigate - in alarm! Then, I saw Arnav playing with dogs- as if they - Leo and Moti - were just another bunch of kids. Interestingly, they two were behaving very well with him. Caring for another animal and having someone to talk to- even if it is 'just' a dog - all these can be great ingredients to growing up. Yes, Arnav talks to them- asks them to be reasonable while eating, not to growl at each other and behave like "good Children". He regularly reminds his naani ji (Ms Dhaneshwari) to give them their lunch when due... and he wanted to take them back with him to his home in Rishikesh! He had my full permission to do so! But he did not!  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Digital literacy for rural population?

Yes, that is the theme for our collaboration with P-Tech Educational Trust of Agra (website)! That, 60-70% of Indians who still live in villages, become smart users of various IT initiatives available to rest of the world now - like cashless transaction, getting an OTP and using it safely on an android phone etc.? Can this be done in the villages of Uttarakhand? We are sure that this can be done- and this is the way forward to a vibrant future. In fact, this could bring in a revolution of sorts, by sheer numbers..

We had a visit from Sri Pushpendra Tyagi and his team. We have discussed the concept and have made up our mind to move in this direction. Mukul, Fakru and Cyril Sahab were also here to discuss, encourage and help us. We will be beginning with the most basic computer literacy course under PMGDISHA

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Parent Teacher Meeting & GOOD NEWS!

We had a parent teacher meeting in our primary school at Jakhadhar on 10th June 2017. About six women and twenty or so men, most of whom have a child studying in the school were here. We gave them the updates and the greetings from Ruben and Maggi. We also discussed pressing issues: parents big role in sending the child in a good state of cleanliness and ready to study- ie. along with all the necessities like pencil, rubber, school bag etc. We also discussed about a little riese in school fee. School management committee was also elected. Parnets have assured to ive us ful support in making the school, what they ideally wish it to. Coming months will show us where we really stand with them. 
It was very inspiring to listen to a young father, who began talking about the school as it used to be when he himself was studying here! We gave them a simile to consider: In the deepest winter, you dont doubt that seasons will change and spring will come. The school too is passing through a difficult time. But it can turn the corner provided we ALL push. 
From school side: four of us participated: Satyendra, Sultan, Chain Singh and Kedar Singh.
Finally the GOOD news: SMTA has received FCRA renewal for next 5 years! Thanks for all your support, help and PRAYERS! Let us get ready for action now..

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


SMTA has submitted a watershed proposal to Nabard for 6 villages near Barnigad. We have also submitted an EOI (expression of interest) document for empanelment with Swajal on 5th June 2017.

Swajal 2 (link1link2) is focused on peri-urban areas this time and is being financially supported by World bank. (Cyril sahab gave us a lead on this - and some more help in this regard. Thank you Cyril ji!).

We have given Dehradun, Uttarkashi and New Tehri, as SMTA's choice of area. Let us keep hoping and praying.

We are also hopeful of collaborating with P Tech (Agra) to take up digital literacy campaign in rural areas (link). Lots of ideas in incubator!

PS: A sad news: Kundan lost his father on 4th June. Our sincere condolences to the bereaved family. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sri Tika Ram Sharma ji

Tika Ram Sharma ji has been associated with SMTA for a long time. Recently, he handed in his resignation, due to his frail health. SMTA offered him its heartfelt gratitude and assured him of our ongoing connection with him. As we are approaching Society Registration renewal process, we are requesting old members to continue being with us, if they possibly can. On the right is the little token of appreciation given by SMTA to Sharma ji for his contributions spanning more than two decades.