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Sambhali Setrawa 1 Empowerment Centre

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 (1) 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.

As part of the Setrawa Empowerment Centre Project, we also send our Sambhali Trust volunteers into the local government and private schools in Setrawa to provide after school tuition to the students, helping support the local teachers.

Project Goals and Objectives

  • Providing girls who are currently attending school with extra English classes, to help improve their grades and future prospects which encourages parents to keep them in education.
  • To provide education for those who cannot afford it.
  • To teach self sustainable practices such as embroidery, hand and machine-sewing to make and accessorise garments which can be sold for future income-generation.
  • To teach a variety of topics for general education, for example, basic anatomy, geography and creative writing.
  • To act as a support centre for women and improve their confidence and self-esteem.
  • To demonstrate basic hygiene skills such as hand washing and clothes cleaning etc.
  • To integrate castes. The Setrawa Centre encourages mixed castes.
  • Promote eco-friendly practices such as recycling old materials.

Projects in Setrawa

Sewing Class
Every morning around 20 women and girls come to the Centre. They learn handicraft skills including cutting, sewing and stitching of local dresses, bags, pillow covers, etc. With these skills the students are able to take commercial orders from their families and other villagers, so that they can earn their own income. Moreover, they get their own sewing machine donated by Sambhali when they have graduated. This is how the women are supported by Sambhali Trust, even in their future. If they are interested in art and crafts, volunteers can assist the local staff in this Class.

Desert Rose Class
After Sewing Class some of the girls stay longer to learn English with the volunteers for one hour. Most of them don´t attend to school, so it is a basic level of English. It is a small group and so the lessons are very effective.

Peacock Class
In the afternoons around 40 children gather at the Centre. In the beginning they pray and sing together and then they are separated into four groups depending on their level of English. Twice a week there are workshops prepared and given by the volunteers about history, geography and science to improve their general knowledge.

Sheerni Microfinance Self Help Group
Sambhali runs a Microfinance Self Help Group in Setrawa, organised by a local staff member. 113 women are divided into ten groups and meet every month. When they have saved enough money one woman of each group receives her loan and can buy a goat, a cow or opens a shop. This project is very renowned and constantly growing.

Local government and private schools
There is the possibility to support local government or private schools. Volunteers can teach extra classes in English and Maths. The students are happy to have extra tuition and want to improve their skills in these important subjects.

Govind Singh Rathore surrounded by Setrawa kids.