Seva Mandir is one of India’s leading development nonprofit organizations. It currently works with 360,000 people across 700 villages of southern Rajasthan, where over 90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture and most people live on less than Rs. 20 ($0.35) a day.
For over 45 years, Seva Mandir has worked in partnership with these people, not only to improve their material well-being, but to build stronger and more ethical communities. Through its programs on governance, health, education, sustainable use of natural resources, women’s empowerment, youth development, child care and social enterprise, Seva Mandir makes a tangible and transformative impact. Every year, 12,000 disadvantaged children receive a quality education in its schools; 8,000 women and children out of reach of hospitals are offered critical health services; thousands more families achieve food security and sustainable livelihoods through the rehabilitation of hundreds of acres of land; and 9,000 women move closer to gender equality and financial independence through women’s groups and lending cooperatives. At Seva Mandir, very modest amounts of money go a very long way toward improving people’s lives, and our success has been recognized through a long list of awards and partnerships with distinguished funders and the Indian government.
What is distinctive about Seva Mandir is that it does not just deliver aid, but instead uses every development project as a way to build stronger communities. This is accomplished through 532 Village Forums and associated Village Funds, which co-manage all Seva Mandir projects and ensure that citizens themselves take responsibility for their village. Over time, these Forums have grown into institutions of just governance, turning Seva Mandir projects into sustained investments in more self-sufficient and equitable communities.