Karens’ India Trip

Dear Friends,

While I was in India this past spring, I visited Kalangarai and was amazed at what a difference our 2017 donations made in the lives of the families of the widowed women who participate in Kalangarai programs. With our two fund-raising appeals in 2017 (Mother’s Day and End-of-the-Year Appeal), Friends of Kalangarai enabled 69 students to attend school. We raised $2,388 (161,235 INR) which provided scholarships ranging from $15 (1000 INR) to $75 (5000 INR).

Ten students received scholarships to attend St. Joseph’s Community College, 3 students received scholarships to nursing school, and 56 students received scholarships to various colleges (vocational diploma, Bachelor’s’ degrees, or Masters of Engineering) and secondary schools (10-12 grades).

Students are starting school in July and need our support. Please consider making a donation to the Friends of Kalangarai to support the children’s education. Your contribution can be sent to the following address:
Friends of Kalangarai
P.O. Box 5366
Louisville, KY 40255

Also, while I was at Kalangarai, I was introduced to a new program that Kalangarai has launched. It is called WISE (Women in Innovative Social Entrepreneurship). These women pool their saving and leased a small farm. They installed an irrigation system and have been able to make a profit. Thay have harvested rice, bajra, and jowar. I think this WISE program can be introduced in ShantiSeva work area.

Warm regards,

Karen Kayser, PhD, MSW
President, Friends of Kalangarai
Friends of Kalangarai is a U.S.A. non-profit that supports the programs of Kalangarai through fund-raising, education, and research. We are a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

Introducing Jaya Maheshwari

During my recent trip to Shujalpur in March 2018, I met Mrs. Jaya Maheshwari the wife of Dhiraj Parwal. She has completed her M.A. in psychology MSW (Master of Social Work). Presently she is working as a ICTC counselor to provide information about HIV/AIDS to villagers.

She also runs HIV/AIDS camps to educate people about symptoms, how to prevent it and the treatment available in government hospitals that are free of charge. She has also organized blood donation camps on a regular basis. In her spare time, she is very much involved in local social work to uplift widowed women. During our meeting, I explained the work that ShantiSeva was involved and she liked our work. I am proud to introduce Mrs. Jaya Maheshwari as a new volunteer to expand the work of ShantiSeva. Welcome to the team.

Fund Raising Garage Sale

Since my wife and I are moving from Louisville, KY to Gaithersburg, MD and downsizing our house. We decided to donate some of our household items to local charity. My wife had an idea to have a garage sale first to raise some money for the ShantiSeva trust in India. Whatever items we couldn’t sell in the garage sale, we would donate to the Goodwill store. Our neighborhood  has an annual garage sale day on June 17, 2017 (Saturday). So, we also took part in this garage sale. The garage sale started at 8am till about noon. About 100 people walked through our garage sale. We sold around $125 worth of household items. At the end of day we still have four large boxes full of items, which we took to the local Goodwill store. We had lots of fun and talked to many people about our social work in India.

Social Worker Trainee – Sandeep Sisodia

ShantiSeva has the pleasure to appoint Sandeep Sisodia as a Social Worker Trainee. Sandeep is a college student going for his BA degree at a local collage. He likes to work in villages to improve the peoples lives. He will be visiting the ShantiSeva adopted villages on a regular basics to promote its programs. He will be teaching villagers about health, hygiene, safe drinking water, cleanness around house, around the whole village and rain water harvesting. Sandeep will select one village and work very hard to make it a “MODEL VILLAGE” to show the other villager’s to follow his work. He will also checking the activity of all the micro loan programs. Dharmendra Parmar will guide and supervise his work. He will form a local volunteer team in each village and teach them how to implement the ShantiSeva program. These local volunteer’s group will teach school children’s and village women about health and hygiene’s on a regular basis.

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Historic Partnership Between WaterStep & ShantiSeva

Long-time WaterStep volunteer Ravi Jain is incorporating water purification into work in his home country of India, where he works with villages in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

ShantiSeva Trust, a nonprofit organization founded by Ravi in Louisville, Kentucky, works to empower marginalized communities of India, focusing on micro-lending and entrepreneurial initiatives for women living in rural areas. Ravi spends 4-5 months of the year in India, working with people to start small businesses as seamstresses, shopkeepers, and merchants. These small loans help people to escape poverty, so they can provide housing, food, medical care, and education for their families.

During a trip last February, Ravi identified two communities that need access to a safe water source. He laid the groundwork for the installation of mini water treatment plants in the two communities of Kisoni and Magraniya. In Magraniya, Ravi led a service camp, where he taught health education to college students. The students then went house to house throughout Magraniya, teaching about proper hand washing, waste disposal, and water storage.

In these two communities, people complain of diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A mini water treatment plant that generates chlorine can remove 99.99% of waterborne pathogens and bacteria in the water, enabling greater health for the community. Health education, which has already started in Magraniya, will increase the success rate of the project. Teaching people how to properly wash their hands, alongside water purification and sanitation, can cut cases of diarrhea in a community almost in half. The work has begun, but there’s still more to do. Ravi is leaving for India this month, and plans to install mini water treatment plants in both Kisoni and Magraniya. He will work with each community to identify the best water solutions, incorporating water purification, health education, and microbusiness. Access to safe water can improve the health of the community, allowing them to focus on other things, like family, education, and careers.

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Two Social Groups Working In India To Help Underprivileged Women

The following is a guest post from Karen Kayser a professor at University of Louisville.

During the WaterStep training, I met Ravi Jain, the founder of Shanti-Seva, an organization that provides financial support through micro loans for women in Shujalpur, Madhya Pradesh which is located in central India. Ravi Jain and I are combining our efforts to bring safe water to vulnerable women and their families across India.

We have completed a training at WaterStep, a Louisville-based non-profit that provides safe water to communities in developing countries. They taught us how to set up a simple water purification system and how to teach hygiene education in a culturally-sensitive way.

Since the tsunami, I’ve been working with Kalangarai in their efforts to assist these women and their children by helping to raise awareness about their plight, supporting their income-generating programs, and providing financial assistance for a facility to house their programs. In general, widowed and abandoned women in India have been treated as outcasts by society. They are among the poorest of the poor in India, especially if they are low-caste women. The mortality rates among Indian widows are nearly twice as high as those of married women in the same age groups. It has been inspiring to watch individual change grow into empowerment of a community. About 1700 widows have joined together and organized a movement to promote their basic human rights.

If you would like more information about our work with the widows or how you can support Kalangarai, please email me at fremka35@gmail.com. For more information about the plight of widows and the work of Kalangarai, go to: www.kalangarai-india.org

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