Gramin Mahila Vikas Sansthan (GMVS) is an NGO working at the grass-root levels in India. Registered in 1997 in Bubani village of Ajmer district, Rajasthan, the organization aimed to be a catalyst of economic development and livelihood support of rural society. However, during their journey, the team identified social challenges faced by the rural community which were an equal hindrance to their overall development. GMVS thus implemented an integrated programme to improve the economic as well as social living conditions of the families living in its area of intervention. Today, it impacts the lives of thousands of women across 400 villages.
The NGO aims to break the boundaries set for women by the male-dominated patriarchal society in the context of involvement and leadership. Through literacy programmes, awareness drives, vocational training and formation of Self-help groups, the organisation has brought remarkable changes in the lives of women and made them more confident and self-reliant. It has helped them establish their own identity in society and enabled them to take a stand for themselves.
Lack of education, awareness and resources in rural areas leads to poor health conditions of the inhabitants. Postnatal care for mothers and infants, gynaecological problems and serious diseases are often ignored. GMVS has sworn to provide affordable access to quality healthcare facilities to the poor people. As part of this initiative, they have formed health committees, organised medical camps and also arranged for mobile health clinics.
GMVS is focusing on the construction of rainwater harvesting structure, contour bunding and watershed development activities with the active participation of the corresponding community. The organisation also plans to prepare teams of youth trained in natural resource management in all the villages. This plan facilitates employment, income generation and skill development while also promoting sustainable usage of natural resources.
The overall vision of the organization is to empower the deprived and vulnerable sections of the community, by enhancing their level of knowledge and awareness, thus providing them with sustainable avenues for growth and development.
Shankar Singh Rawat, the founder of the organisation is an inhabitant of Ajmer, Rajasthan. The social and environmental conditions of the place concerned him. Declining groundwater levels in an already rain deficit area posed a huge threat to the main occupation of the population which was agriculture and animal husbandry. In the social sphere, practices such as child marriage and gender discrimination were rampant. With a strong will to change the picture of the state and eradicate these evils, he established the Gramin Mahila Vikas Sansthan in 1997. Mr Rawat has over 25 years of rich experience in community development and empowerment. With his excellent leadership and management skills, he has effectively implemented and monitored programmes aimed at building microfinance institutions and setting up of SHG structures. He has been an active contributor to awareness projects and capacity building training sessions. A selfless and compassionate being, he is an example for the youth of our country. His service to society has been recognised by various social organisations. Shankar Singh Rawat received The Mother Teresa Global Award in 2017. He was also awarded by The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for extraordinary achievements in the field of self-help group bank linkages in the year of 2016-17.
Ganga was an innocent young girl robbed of her childhood early on in life. A resident of Bubani in Ajmer district, she used to accompany her father every morning to stone mines. In the age of playing with toys, the mere 8-year-old girl held hammers in her hand to break stones. Her tender hands were filled with blisters and her body was becoming weak with each passing day. Still, she continued to labour hard and help her father without saying a word.
When the dedicated team of GMVS met her father and requested him to enrol her in Special Child Labour School, her father, Ram Chandra hesitated and gave numerous excuses for his refusal. However, the NGO team members did not give up. They insisted and made him understand the ill effects of child labour, the laws to protect children’s rights and the importance of education. Ultimately, he agreed and Ganga was enrolled in the school in Bubani on 25th July 2000.
In the beginning, she had trouble adapting to the school environment. The teachers understood her situation and stood by her like a rock. They took extra efforts to help her get comfortable and acquainted with school life. With her dedication and the constant support of her family and teachers, Ganga completed her secondary education and is treading on a path to become a doctor to serve society at large.
Chanta Devi resides in a small village called Khayda in Ajmer, Rajasthan. She works as a labourer along with her husband to make ends meet and provide for their children. Despite their poor financial condition, she always dreamt of having quality education, good food and other facilities. Above all, she wanted a respectable position in society. She was deeply pained by her inability to provide basic necessities and education to her children owing to poverty.
Once, on a visit to her parents’ house, she learnt about self-help groups. With a desire to improve the overall condition and well-being of her family, she immediately took up the idea and conveyed it to her family. Her husband was very supportive and told her about the Gramin Mahila Vikas Sansthan. Chanta Devi met the GMVS field coordinator in Khayda and formed the Shri Ram SHG along with five other women of the village.
She was selected for the Goat Based Livelihood Promotion Programme which was implemented in her village with the support of The Hans Foundation. At the end of the programme, she got her own goats. By selling the goat’s milk, she started earning a livelihood of Rs. 250 per day. This allowed her to discontinue working as a labourer. Her future plans include making milk products such as sweets and cottage cheese with the increased availability of milk. These changes in her life have given her a ray of hope for a better and more secure future for her family.
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