Success Stories

Through the evolution of SBMA, we have discovered that there are general needs throughout the region that require more attention. In the effort to properly address those issues, four off-chute organizations have been created. They are independent organizations that were created by SBMA, and we continue to work very closely with them.

RACHNA Vert RGBFirst of all, SBMA has always seen itself as a research institution, working to understand and record the situation, on the ground, of the people and villages. We use this information to create more capable and helpful projects as well as influence and shape government policies. In addition to our use of the research, we communicate with other groups working in the area and elsewhere to share our ideas and learn from their experiences. The amount of energy dedicated to this task cannot be overemphasized, so we created RACHNA. The acronym stands for Research, Advocacy, and Communication in Himalayan Areas, and the word rachna in Hindi means "creation".



After the International Conference of Mountain Children in 2001, it became apparent that the children of the mountains required a platform to voice their concerns and needs. The Mountain Children's Forum was created and has been working as a loudspeaker in all areas of Uttaranchal, as well as in Arunachal and Himachal Pradesh.



Channel Mountain Communication (CMC), as the name suggests, is an organisation devoted to the activities related to communication in Himalayan region. We are a group of professionals working in the areas of science, technology, culture, media, research and training. The CMC is committed to provide quality services to organisation, agencies and institutions both in private and public sector in the areas of mass communication.

CMC based on its professionals vast experience in multiple discipline will provide its expertise in folk media, documentation, publication, film, television, radio, website, advertisement, campaign, media research and training and assist organisations to accomplish their aim and objective.

jpThis is Jayprakash Panwar; you can call me “JP”. I born and brought up in the beautiful mountain village of middle Himalaya, which is a northern part of India. The beautiful and natural Himalayan environment has a great impact on my life and creativity. I did my schooling near my village and after that; I completed my graduation from nearby university called H.N.B. Garhwal University. I completed my master of Anthropology and one year bachelor of journalism. Writing, poetry, paintings, illustration, sketching and photography was always being my passion. I was the student editor of my university magazine (Nirjharni) for two years. This was a good platform for creative students and for me it may be the first learning of new media as we were using the computer based designing and layout.

During my university days, I was also working as a freelance feature writer, journalist and photographer and earning money to continue my education as my family economic condition was not so sound. My university life was much tough and full of adventures. Due to writing, journalism and photo features in different news papers and magazines, latter on people started recognizing me and they started inviting me to participate on their ventures and events. In this way, I come across with variety of dimensions of life and society. I always wanted to work for television and radio in India but at that time only government owned system existed and there where no other electronic media in which I can try to join.

After completion of my study, I joined a voluntary organization called Shri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA) and started development communication work by using different media technology to disseminate massage and building awareness among mountain communities of Himalaya. It was a great platform for me to work and get experience in different development media practices right from conceptualization, writing, designing, illustrating, sketching, and photography to production and dissemination.

Despite all that, I was also coordinating and managing the community development projects. I worked ten years in SBMA. I was looking for pure communication and media work which I always passionate about, one day I decided and took leave from my old organization and established Channel Mountain Communication (CMC), which is an integrated communication organization working in film, television, radio, print, website, media events and consultancy services. CMC is the first who introduced digital working facilities in my state. So far CMC has produced 40 Radio programs, 20 Radio Add zingles, 60 Documentaries, 2 Films, 3 Music videos, 3 Add films 2 Audios, Two dozens publication and many media events and campaigns.

After joining Center for New Media Arts, as student I got an understanding that CMC some how is a new media arts organization. I found this abbreviation in new media study, which perfectly fit with my organization as computer mediated communication (CMC) and now I am certain that it is a new media arts organization after having this new concept of New Media (Digital technology). I would like to mentioned here that before going to Australia, I have never received any formal computer training, filming and camera, editing etc from any institution, All I did my own by failing and passing technique, but keep practicing and self learning. My life always has many folds, after three years of CMC; fortunately, I received a prestigious Ford Foundation International Fellowship to pursue my second master of New Media Arts (Specialized in Digital Film Production) at the Centre for New Media Arts at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia. I have produced this slogan for my new venture in future “NEW INDIA - NEW MEDIA”. Good luck everyone for your creative endeavor.

Jayprakash Panwar's Brief Profile
Jayprakash Panwar is a communication anthropologist, an IEC and documentation specialist and a frequent mountain visitor. He has experience of more than 15 years in freelance journalism and social sector. JP is a professional writer and editor and contributed in around 2 dozen books, magazines and news letters, 1000 articles and photo features in national media. He has an experience of script conceptualization and directions in more than 60 documentaries, films, short films, advertise films, 50 Radio programs and visual documentation of many organizations including government as well as non-government.
He is an alumnus (Master of New Media with specialization in Digital Film Production) of the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia and a recipient of Ford Foundation International Fellowship. He is also an alumnus of India Fellowship Program – India Alumni Network (IFPIAN), New Delhi. Currently he is a managing director of Channel Mountain Communication (CMC).

manojManoj is a native son of Indian Himalayas and was a leader in the mass-movement of 1994 to create the mountain state of Uttaranchal. His association with the mass-movement convinced him that strong home work is required to strengthen the institutions of governance like Panchayats, to prepare policy recommendations and to create a network for advocacy in order to use the coming opportunity of having a small mountain state.

He joined SBMA in 1995 to be a part of the efforts of the organisation for people's empowerment. Since then, he has been a part of many programs as coordinator, manager and leader but he mainly focused his energy on strengthening of community governance in Uttaranchal.

He carried-forward the central value of the organisation that community empowerment is possible only when people have ownership on the process and government and NGOs focus their efforts on the strengths of the people rather than focusing on problems only. He believes that a sustainable development process requires partnership between community, government and NGOs.

His successful work in community development and policy issues in Uttaranchal have convinced him that the region is ripe for development rooted in conservation of scenic, cultural and biological resources.

Mr. Manoj Bhatt currently is Executive Director of Research, Advocacy and Communication in Himalayan Areas (RACHNA) that is an independent, entrepreneurial, not for profit organization committed for lasting protection of the Himalayan ecosystems. RACHNA is a growing Green Business School of the Himalayas that works for promotion of green businesses, policies, practices and behaviors.

As an orator; writer and social entrepreneur, Mr. Bhatt has been leading social movements, public policy campaigns, projects and organizations for sustainable development of the Himalayas.

As director of programs at Shri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA), one of the leading nonprofits of the Himalayas , his work has been recognized by several national and international organizations. He represented the Central Himalayan region in the Rio+5 Earth Summit organized by the UNGASS in 1997.  Mr. Bhatt worked with Future Generations, USA as special fellow for one year to become master trainer in SEED-SCALE (a methodology of community development and applied conservation). Mr Bhatt was a fellow of Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program of Mulago Foundation, USA for two years to work on effective design and strategy for conserving Himalayan ecosystems.

Mr. Bhatt has earned Mater of International Affairs (MIA) - a full time professional post graduate degree in 2005-07 from School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University, New York, in Environment and Development. In the same year Mr. Bhatt received Environment Protection through Incentives for Conservation (EPIC) Luce Foundation Special Fellowship Award from Columbia Business School to write case studies on Van Panchayats (Forest Councils). His academic and networking work for the Himalayas, during his studies, was recognized by the University by awarding him the Progressive Sustainability Award for 2007. Mr. Bhatt also did a certificate course in Asset-Based and Citizen Driven Development (ABCD) from Cody International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada in 2008.

When I think of my past I get very energized and my mind gets filled with thoughts and it all becomes a blur. I have been through a lot.

I come from a village in a backward area, named Soong, in District Chamoli of Uttaranchal. People there wore clothes different from those I wear today. Because of the climate, Women wore blankets, men wore big tila pants and thick dress shirts. I usually wore clothes that family members or any village person would hand down to me.

I don't know much about my family because my father died when I was three and my mother died a year later. My memory of them is vague. I don't remember their faces nor much about their personalities. The little I do know comes from the few stories my older sister had shared with me. When they passed away, I was four, my sister Maheshwari nine and my eldest sister, Vimala eleven. My parents had left us a home and good fields, so my oldest sister had no choice but to take on the many responsibilities of the household.

Because I was so young, my chacha (dads brother) who lived in another village decided it would be best for me to go live with him and his family. This turned out to be an awful experience. I remember my uncle and his wife being very harsh and unkind to me. They would beat me and would make me do physically demanding chores that required long hikes in the forests to collect firewood and carry water and animal food. They would also get me to do household chores, like the dishes and field work. I recall always being frustrated, so I frequently ran away. Sometimes for three to four days at a time. The forests there are very thick and many said they were haunted by ghosts from all the burial ceremonies held there, but I don't recall ever being afraid. It seems nothing scared me then because, I am told, that I would often hide in a cave near the babies' cemetery. I used to do all sorts of crazy things and, as a result, I got punished a lot. I remember they would tie my hands up with a long rope that they used to tie up the cows. I was very unhappy. Because of this, I ended up running away to my mothers' house after eight months.

Shortly after I had returned, my middle sister went to live with my uncle. He had gotten a women from a neighboring village to convince her it was the best thing to do. She would ask her questions like, "Who will arrange your marriage?" Her questions frightened my sister and she left my mothers' home. At my uncle's she had to work very hard. She picked up cow dung, cut the grass, did field work, and a whole lot more. My sister was a very obedient child and a hard worker, therefore my uncle and aunt were happy.

So, it ended up just being Vimala and me. My sister was like a mother to me, she was quite incredible. She would wake up at 4:00 o'clock in the morning and go very far to collect the oak grass, then she would return to cook for me and then continue her day in the fields. She had to work very long and tiring days but she really had no choice, no other alternative. She had to take on this role in order for us to survive.

I too would do things in the house such as collecting the water and anything else I could handle. By the age of seven I was cooking dal and chavel for my sister and I. I do not know how we afforded it, but my sister made sure I went to school. I remember that on my first day of school I had refused to go because I had heard all the other boys and girls talking about how the school teacher would hit them and beat them with sticks. So I entered my first day of class with my sister holding legs and my teacher pulling at my arms. During primary school, to keep costs down, I would use a piece of wood as my chalkboard, finished with a black liquid that came out of an old battery when I would bang it hard. At times I would use the charred deposit that would collect on the bottom of the tahwa (roti pan). For chalk I would use a stick and dip it in kamera (a white dow like soil) which I would get from digging in the ground. In some villages, kamera mixed with water is sometimes used to paint walls. Once I graduated to fifth class, books and school cost a lot more and to cope with this my sister got another job gathering and breaking stones for construction. We had to rent out a piece of our grasslands, as well.
Village mountain life was very isolated. In school when I learned about Delhi, America, and trains it all seemed like a dream. I did not believe that there was a world outside of Soong. All I could see or imagine were the forests that surrounded it. I was sure the teacher was sharing her dreams with us.

One story I will never forget was when I had become very ill with a stomach problems. I had been at home for three days and had become very pale and weak. My sister was crying and no one in our village could help. Finally my sister, who was tiny but strong, decided I needed to get to a hospital, and so she proceeded to carry me. She carried me on her back for about five kilometers and was reaching the point of exhaustion. She knew she had to continue but there was nine more kilometers to go. Fortunately, for us the gods came through and a pony approached. The pony to carried me the rest of the way. Her efforts worked because after proper treatment, I slowly recovered.

When I was in grade five our fortune began to change. SBMA had started to do work in our village with balwadis and other types of development work. Through their work and various village meetings the SBMA workers became aware of our situation and began to help us. First my sister was given a job at one of the balwadis as a cook and teachers assistant paying her about 250 Rs. When they could, they would provide us with extra money and other things. Eventually they found a spot for me in SBMA where I went to live and attend school. My sister joined us about a month later.

At first, SBMA was strange and unfamiliar but quickly it became home. It felt like suddenly we had inherited a large family where there were parents to take care of meals and clothing. It was nice for my sister not to have to worry about where our next meal would come from, although she continued to work the fields and cut the grass. She was happy to do it there because it was like home to her. Eventually, within the Ashram she learned how to weave and proceeded to work with that.

Life there was much better for us, but for the first three years, I had a hard time adjusting. I would attend school and do the agricultural chores all the kids did, like fetching the water and carrying the cow dung. But, I was a very naughty and mischievous, I always managed to get punished for one thing or another. The other children in the ashram would make fun of me sometimes, and I began to suffer from some emotional problems. I recall various times when I would walk into the forests for one of my daily chores and would just stop and cry because I felt very confused and unhappy. But gradually things changed, slowly I began to feel more comfortable there. I grew to understand the objectives of the ashram and slowly began to see fun and exciting things about it.

I feel that Uncle ji played a major role in allowing me to become comfortable with the ashram and my life. He realized I needed love and attention and worked towards providing that for me and the other children. I feel that his love, wisdom and guidance have shaped who I am today.

I have completed my B.A. now, and am living and working at the ashram. I've gotten a chance to travel around India and even to Europe with various programs associated with SBMA. I am happy now and have began to dream of my future. I feel that everything I have been through, everything I have learned, everything I have seen will give me the tools to work in the developmental field. I feel that my story of my past is not about me as an individual but about many other Mohan's in the Himalayan Mountains. Every child will have his own version, yet I know they are all very similar. For this reason, I hope to work for children who live as I have lived and give them a chance for a better life.

Written by Cindy Escobar

shashiI do not remember much of my life as a child, but I have managed to piece it together from what my family and village members tell me. It is scary to think of where I came from and what I have been through.

I was born in Mathura, a city outside Delhi. My father moved there to work many years before his children were born. He established himself comfortably and had purchased a nice home. My family then consisted of five children, two boys (I being the youngest) and three girls. Our close-knit group broke up with the death of my eldest sister, Urmila. She was 15. Shortly after, my father died, which left us with no source of income. As a result, my mother and the remaining children were forced to leave our home and move to our father's village, Kafna. There we had a house and land with which we could try to support ourselves.

Due to our circumstances, neither I nor my brother and sisters were able to attend school. Those of us who could helped our mother in the fields and with her domestic work. Shortly after, our mother became ill and we were again forced to move, this time to her village, Musan gaon. There her brother, my Mama (uncle), took care of us. We finally got the chance to begin school and I was able to complete the primary levels. I remember having to walk about three kilometers through the jungle to get to school. Soon, though, my eldest brother and my mother became ill. Both died shortly after.

At this point, we were living with my grandmother in Kafna. She could not afford school for us, so we helped to graze the cows and collect wood or cow dung for fuel. She took care of us the best she could, but she understood we needed schooling, clothes, and other things she could not provide. Her concern for us grew as she noticed the difficult time the villagers were giving us. Some villagers claimed we were bad omens or evil spirits. Once, when I was out grazing the cows and one wandered into another man's field, he came at me yelling and screaming that this was my fault and no wonder my family died. I was a wretched child, he said. There were many such occurrences.

My grandmother had heard of Swami ji's Ashram from my Tau (father's eldest brother) who was great friends with the Swami. He had explained to her that this ashram could possibly provide us with food, shelter, and education. She decided we should go to Swami ji's Ashram. Tau made the arrangements and brought us there. I was about five, my middle sister six, and eldest sister nine. At the beginning, we were happy and excited to be there, but the thrill slowly wore away. It was difficult for us to adjust to a new place, people, and language. At that time the Ashram was very primitive and was still developing. It consisted of the top rooms, had a few cows, some crops and the beginnings of an orchard. As a result, life was difficult for everyone there. Each person had physically demanding jobs and money was still an issue. In spite of this, we tried to make the best of the situation. While grazing the cows, we would sing in the forests, swim in the water tank, and enjoy life as much as possible. We went to the local primary government schools but, due to the amount of work at the Ashram, we usually attended only three or four days of the week. Since there was not much money we would have one set of textbooks for four or five of us.

I remember a time when we had to work very hard. We had planted new apple, pear and other kinds of fruit trees in the orchard, but the water systems were not working and these trees desperately needed to be watered. Each child was handed two buckets and had to travel to a nearby stream to collect water and then spread it across the orchard. This took all day, but it needed to be done. Swami ji was a very hard working man who did what needed to be done. It could be twelve o'clock at night but if the roof needed fixing, then the roof would get fixed.

At school, my passion for reading grew. Many times I would escape from the troubles of the world into my stories. I read everything I could get my hands on. Swami ji knew I loved reading and always encouraged me. When I hid in the corners of the Ashram's library, he made sure I was left undisturbed. Thanks to this, reading is now one of the great joys of my life.
I realize now that what he wanted for us was to learn to be strong, independent individuals. He felt that through hard work and through coping with challenging situations we would accomplish this.

I recall learning about hygiene from him. My sisters and I had not learned the habit of brushing our teeth, combing our hair, or frequent bathing. Many of us never had a parent to teach us these habits, and often the women of the ashram were too busy to keep up with all of us. Swami ji was very particular about this and he would notice when we were not clean. We would tell him we bathed or brushed our teeth but he knew better. Often he himself would scrub us down, wash our clothes, and ensure we all brushed our teeth.
Cyril ji taught me about finances and accounting as I regularly brought my tokary (large bamboo head basket) full of fruits and vegetables to the market. He made us keep count of how many bundles or kilo's we would take and how many we sold. Each day we would give him the money we made. All money spent on chai and candies was accounted for. I remember feeling very responsible and realized being a good business man was very important. I once cried out of fear of disappointment when the contents of a basket was eaten by my friends at the market. I did not know how I could explain my loss in sales.

The Ashram had become a home with a large family. I had gained two fathers and many mothers. I never had to think of the future or plan a career but I was happy. Unfortunately, there was an ex military man in the late eighties who came and disturbed the whole town. He had a special hatred for Swami ji and the Ashram. He was a man trained to use psychological mind games in order to instill fear, and he used to beat people at the Ashram. He even raped a woman. I recall my Ashram brother Gyanu and I being beaten by him as well. Then his madness got the better of him and he killed Swami ji.

I was in shock. Having Swami die was like losing my father. I was angry and scared. I wondered what would happen to me. It was a very dark moment in my life, but, with Cyril's help, I slowly moved out of this phase. He assured me that the Ashram would continue and so would my life. He gave me the courage to fight this difficult moment and I remembered the lessons Swami had taught me about survival. And so I did.

I went through life not really knowing where I was headed nor even aspiring to a career. The one thing I did dream of was having a family of my own. I fulfilled my wish when I found a wonderful wife, and together we have brought two amazing children into the world. I have begun to experience the joys of parenthood and have realized that I can now live the childhood I never had with and through my sons. It is a very exciting and wonderful feeling.

Written By Cindy Escobar


"During the animal sacrifice incident I met Swami ji for the first time. I had heard that a saint from Kerala has come," recounts Mausi ji. She explains how he stopped people from sacrificing animals at Chandrabadni temple. She says that he exclaimed, "First kill me and then you can move onto these helpless animals." It was the Navratra holiday at the time and the city magistrate, Mr. Kukreti, was also present, with a police force. With the support of some students and other community members Swami ji was able to successfully stop the sacrifice.

Mausi ji owned some land near the temple and Swami ji inquired to whether she would be willing to donate some land for the construction of the Ashram and help take on the women's issues. Mausi ji was widowed at a young age. This led her to do social work. She was at the time concerned with the high suicide rate of women and worked to come up with solutions.

In 1979 she went to the Laxmi ashram in Kausani to get the training she needed to run an ashram. Afterwards, she travelled around Garhwal, attending various meetings on behalf of SBMA and later opened the ashram doors to needy children.


Smt. Chankhi Devi (Mausi ji) is president of the Ashram and continues to live in the Top Ashram, a place for young women and children to find refuge.

He came to the ashram with his mother, Saunla Devi at the age of about 2 in 1976 from Chamiyadi village, District Tehri. After much hardships and dedicated work, he became the Secretary of the SBMA.

In his own word:

gyanu I was born on 10th October 1973, in Chamiyadi Village, PO Jamnikhal, Distt. Tehri (Garhwal). My mother was my father's second wife, due to which we were not very much cared for. We had heard a lot of appraisal about Swami Ji, his Ashram and their work for the upliftment of the community, so we decided to leave home and live in the Ashram in 1976.

Life in the beginning, at the Ashram, was very tough and we went through a lot of hardships. We didn't have any beds to sleep on, clothes to wear or food to eat. Our daily routine was to milk the cows, work in the fields and sell the produce to buy some of the rations. Due to scarcity of food we sometimes ate boiled corn, for days at a stretch. Though I faced a lot of problems and severe conditions during this part of my life, still I learnt a lot from it and it is still helping me to face life, in the present. I was very young, about four years old, when I met Swami Ji, so I don't recall much but of whatever I can remember, he had a magnetic personality and whosoever came in contact with him, got a positive impact in their lives. I was very close to him and felt bad about the way he died. He should not have had this kind of a death.

I received my primary education in Kaintholi village and secondary education in Anjanisain. During my schooling in Anjanisain, we had separate uniforms for girls and boys and since I did not have a proper one, I had to wear the girl's uniform. I was teased and bullied by the rest of the children at school.

After completing intermediate, I did my graduation through Sociology & Anthropology and post-graduation through Social Anthropology. In 1999, I joined the SBMA office as a Purchase Officer, then went on to become the Habitat gsrawatCoordinator and presently, am the Joint Secretary of SBMA. During my work in the Ashram, I went back to my village (Chamiyadi) and there I initiated development programs like Watershed Management and Panchayti Raj Institutions.

The Ashram gave me everything - food, shelter, education, love & benevolence, exposure and learning. It is a platform where anybody who is interested to do anything can very well do it. The most important thing in life for me is to always do better and improve on whatever we have.

I never thought what I wanted to be, where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. All I knew was, that I wanted to work for the betterment of the society, as a whole and work towards the all round development of the community.

abt hist peo cyril1 Born in Allahabad, the hotbed of India's Independence Movement at the out break of World War II, Cyril was the 7th son of a 7th son - his father Dr.Stephen Charles, and mother Beryl Rose – a sensitive poetess and pianist.

Growing – up and going to school in new, Independent India, fired-up Cyril – as it did so many young people at the time – with all sorts of thoughts and desires of service to the nation.

Anglo-Indian communities were leaving India in droves with the misplaced notion of a better future for the children in England.

It was a horrific day for him, when a few weeks before giving his Senior Cambridge school leaving exams, he got passport papers to sign.

A myriad dreams and fantasies that had been shared with his 22 class mates for years, was going up in flames. Every idea for not going to the UK the young Cyril placed before his elders was firmly rejected, and it was not much later that he found himself standing on the deck of a P&O liner that was slowly slipping out to sea. He watched till he could no longer see the "Gateway to India".

The wrenching agony of the experience was relieved to a great extent when Cyril discovered the entire Indian Cricket team were also on board traveling to England to play a Test series. It was almost magical for a young cricket fanatic to spend two weeks with so many of one's hero's! It was to be the first of several experiences that showed him that great opportunity is buried some where in every deep crisis.

Management studies in London and running youth clubs for the "Teddy Boys" of the time and a job with BOAC (now British Air) gave wings to childhood ambitions to see the world. Forty eight countries later and vast experience in "planning", Cyril grew tired of the British weather, and in the mid-sixties he moved to Canada and its vast open spaces.

He does not tire of being called a "Flower – Child Hippy" and experienced the magical, creative and hopeful energy that characterized the sixties and seventies.abt hist peo cyril2

In Canada and the USA life drew him towards the electronic media, as also towards the Tourism industry and periodic stints in alternative living on a commune he established in Southern British Columbia called "Akasha".

Through it all Cyril kept coming back regularly to India. 1976 found him in his native Allahabad at a Maha Kumbh Mela (Festival) that comes around every 12 years. This one was considered particularly auspicious as 7 planets were in a straight line in the heavens!

Deeply moving and spiritual experiences, stumbling on and meeting larger than life people and moving about for days amongst millions of people, he knew that he had come home.

Six months later, after quietly liquidating most of his assets in Canada and tying neat bows in many relationships with immediate family and friends he packed his life into 2 suitcases and returned to India never to go back west again.

cyriljiwithswamiji Literally, within a week of being in India he chanced on Swamy Manmathan an itinerant social reformer, who was about to start Sri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram.

It was again a magical first meeting, so solid, so sure, so arrived, that not even Swamijis assassination 13 years later could stop the "calling" (if you like).

Cyrilji, lovingly addressed as Uncleji, resides and works on the SBMA Anjanisain campus. He has lived for many years with the young boys of the boys hostel and enjoys looking after the chickens and cows. Cyril ji is the current Chief advisor of SBMA.

In May and June 2004 two Enrollment Camps were organised at Gairsain Block of Distrct Chamoli and Sahaespur Block of Dirstrict Dehradun. During the camp held at Gram Sabha Mehuwala in Sahespur Block twenty-nine school drop-out girls in the age group between 6-14 years got enrolled. These girls were all Muslims and are now hapily studying in different classes.


Village Haripur in the Bhagwanpur Block of District Haridwar is a Tongya village stuated amidest the forest. As per the rules and regulations of forest department no cnstruction can be errected in these forest vilages and therefore there was no school building. Due to this more than eighty children got no proper primary education. APIL organized a GSS in this village and got the community mobilized to demand for the rightd of their children. As a result the Education Department was compelled to construct a school building in the adjoining village land Buggawala. Now this school is in function.

Guddi and Mansiri were school drop-outs from Sarkot village of Block Gairsain in the District of Chamoli. Guddi however never atended a school. When both these girls came to our Enrollment Camp we found them siting quietly in one corner and not mixing up with other participants. In the beginning they were extremely ademend for not attending school but once they went through all te processes and activities being conducted in the camp their attitude towads education got changed and on the last day when both of them were asked a question that what would they like to become when they are adults both replied confidently: "We would like to become teacher!". Both these girls are now enrolled in the Primary School and are very happy.

Responses of SMC’s


If there are joint initiatives for improving girls education, then, we are sure to get better results . SMC’S provide a direct platform for teachers , parents and the elected members to sit together and share their views ,regarding education . It also enables to generate the feeling of ownership.
Maheshi Devi
Member SMC village palchuni, Naranyan bager , Chamoli.

There are parents ,teachers and others members of the community in the SMC and if all of them assume the responsibility and honesty then together ,we can do lots of things to make education better : But for this to happen the SMC’S should be constituted properly and given extensive training in management.


Harpal Singh

President SMC Sagwara Tharali , Chamoli


Constiuting SMC’S is a welcome efforts of a government and if it functions well , it can bring about large number of positive changes with in the policy makers. But the current status of SMC is so dysfunctional and trainings provided to them are so inadequate that we really do not know when the changes will take place.
Gulfam Ali
President SMC Kedar wala, VikasNagar district Dehra Dun


Initiatives of SMC


A gram Shikha sabha was organised in village Jissua of Kalsi block on 3/12/03 . This meeting was attended by the village head , school , headmaster , dropout girls and many others from the community . On sharing the data of their village it was found that there were ignorant about many facts and figures.
The school building in the villages got sanctioned in 1997 but was still lying incomplete due to nobody interest . After the meeting it was decided by the members of SMC and others to immediately start the constructed with all children coming to the school. Two dropout girls Sharmila Sharma and Meera (13 yrs, 12 yrs ) also got enrolled.

In Tajpur village of block Dewal the SMC meetings were never organised monthly regularly but after attending gram shikha sabha 2/1/04 the SMC took the responsibility of repairing the school building and arrangement of drinking water . The village head also undertook the responsibility of construction of the boundary wall.

The women present in a GSS pressurised the parents to enrol their dropout daughters. At present this school has drinking water facility and the repairing work is also completed, however the boundary wall was reported to be under construction.

Khamroli is a ditance village situated at a distance of 30 Km from Kalsee block of district Dehradun. The first Gram Shiksha Sabha was organized in this village in November, 2003 was attended by a large number of women, men, local school teachers and also approximately 23 young girls who dropped out of school at some point of time due to personal or social or economical reasons. While the APIL volunteer emphasised upon the importance of girls education and need to educate all girls, one of the girls named Bijma attending the meeting was so motivated that she decided to not only restart her education but also to support her friends in completing their education.

From the very next day Bijma, who was a dropout in class 8th some years ago, along with five of her school drop out friends, started self learning in the Varandha of village primary school. Seeing her interest and enthusiasm, the school teacher offered her space in school room in the evening. Now every evening, after completing of the household responsibilities all these girls gather in the school room to learn themselves for completing there education. Slowly many other girls form the same village, who were also a dropout also became a part of this group and soon after there, were around 25 girls coming together each evening to acquire knowledge in the limelight of a lantern provided by the village people in honour of their desire.

Bijma , now has become an example for others in the community.


In village Jakhni, Smt. Sangita Devi, 22 years, w/o Sri. Pradeep Kumar, started getting labor pains on 9.10.04. It was her first delivery, labor pains remained for more than 24 hours regularly. But, family members and village people were not ready to send her to the hospital anywhere.

The family members and old people of village started worshipping, saying that "God will come and delivery will happen". Pregnant lady was crying due to pain. The CHV Jakhni, Sri. Harish Kumar couldn't see this, as he had obtained knowledge on delivery, safe motherhood and neonatal care during the CHV training. He immediately informed the family members about this and suggested them to take pregnant lady to the ANC, District Hospital, Gopeshwar. He also told about the harms that can occur to the mother and the baby, if not taken to the hospital on time. It was very difficult to convince the family members for taking the pregnant lady to the hospital, but finally he got success.The family members agreed and the pregnant lady was taken to the ANC, District Hospital, Gopeshwar. As a result, Sangita Devi gave birth to a healthy baby "Nisha".

If Harish wouldn't have taken initiative, a big tragedy might have happen.

Sera Cluster

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