First of all, the women and children who had the courage to take up residence in the ashram at the very beginning deserve commendation. Breaking tradition and leaving their impossible situations at home represented a serious shift in the normal ways of thinking that had predominated in the area for centuries. Almost none of the local villagers understood or accepted that change. The brave women, Mala Devi, Chankhi Devi, Santa Devi, Saunla Devi and others fought local perceptions and worked extremely hard, and ensured a solid ideological foundation for the ashram and its vision of change.
For the first seven years the ashram was completely self-
In 1991, an earthquake devastated the Uttarkashi area. SBMA staff members were some of the first relief workers on the scene. Uttarkashi is approximately 120 kilometers from Anjanisain. Originally, SBMA came only to help in the relief effort, but during that time the need for further SBMA programs became evident. Within a week, SBMA had established a presence and the ashram's coverage had greatly expanded to encompass the Uttarkashi district. Slowly, our presence in Uttarkashi grew and today there is a permanent office there. Over time, the area covered by SBMA programs continued to expand, and SBMA has worked in every district of Uttaranchal.
With the expansion of SBMA programs came, necessarily, the growth of the ashram's staff and organizational capacity. For example, the first SBMA vehicle was introduced in the late 80's and allowed greater access to and expansion of the coverage area. Organizational capacity was also greatly aided by the introduction of computers and innovative techniques in the early 90's. The first computer at the ashram was a bit of a spectacle, and the kids dragged Cyril ji to ponder the new machine on many occasions. The technical network of computers and equipment used in keeping track of accounts and programs, making reports, and keeping in touch with other organizations and partners. Along with technology, there has been a focus on human resource development. Staff members at the ashram began to expand their research and deploy new organizational techniques that came from other parts of India and beyond. All of this has allowed SBMA to be a successful and well-