Samagra: Working for Women and Children at the Foothills of Himalayas
Sri Gopal Mohanty
In February, 2015, I visited Samagra India, a Trust with the main aim of improving the life of the under privileged children, girls and women. It is located in the foothills of Himalayas, in the city of Dehradun in Uttarakhand State. Its objectives for young children are to imbibe higher moral values and to enable them to excel in academic life and for women to make them self-supporting and confident so that they can help the community at the time of ay crisis. Suchitra Agrawal who is the managing Trustee of Samagra was may gracious shot who plans and supervises its programs. I was told that the following programs are offered free of cost:
· About 35 children from a nearby slum come daily for 3-4 hours after school for improving their learning. They join sessions for yoga meditation, prayer and moral education and are provided nutritious snacks.
· Because marginalized women in India are the real victims of poverty and gender discrimination, one major activity of Samagra is to help the girls and women to become self-supporting and to lead a respectful life. It provides them the training in different trades like tailoring, personal grooming, henna art, embroidery, quilting, macramé for 3 to 4 months in the rural areas of Dehradun. It also updates them about government policies beneficial for them and helps them in getting interest-free loans from likeminded organizations. Around 900 women have been benefited till date. Poor girls who are weake in English and Science are given extra coaching while those who are meritorious are encouraged to join professional courses like Physiotherapy with some financial aid. In one afternoon some of the women gathered in Samagra and showed their beautiful handicrafts, the designs and guidance being provided by Suchita. I also had a discussion with a couple of women leaders in the area regarding MSS.