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What we do

Seva Mandir works with more than 500,000 people in 1,500 rural villages in 4 districts (Udaipur, Salumber, Sirohi, and Rajsamand) of southern Rajasthan. The total area of these four districts is over 16,000 km2, with villages spread over large areas and made up of a series of small hamlets, typically inhabited by different caste and tribal groups. The area is hilly and semi-arid, with poor infrastructure. 84% of the population are subsistence farmers who struggle to make a living from their small landholdings. Increasing numbers of men migrate to distant towns to work as labourers in mining, construction or agriculture, leaving women to run the smallholdings, look after the animals, labour in the villages and look after children, many of whom have to work in the home or the fields.

The area suffers from a lack of clean drinking water and toilets (open defecation is still commonly practised) and poorly functioning health and education facilities. Malnutrition is rife, particularly among young children. In this patriarchal society, women continue to face domestic violence and illiteracy and they lack socio-political and financial independence.

Around 70% of the population is tribal. Tribal people, who traditionally inhabited the forest areas of India, have their own social and governance customs. They score lowest on all measures of development, lack opportunities to improve their development and frequently face discrimination.

Seva Mandir has built up teams of experts (from the region and elsewhere) in a number of disciplines who use their skills in the service of the people of our area.

Seva Mandir believes in not just delivering aid, but in long-term and sustainable social transformation. Since our inception over 50 years ago, the fundamental principle underpinning all of our activities has been that rural development work in the villages, however much it is needed, is not an end in itself. Rather, it is inextricably linked to the aim of transforming social relationships within the villages, strengthening communities' capacity for self-development and governance and reducing traditional social barriers based on caste, class, gender and age. Seva Mandir has sought to achieve its twin aims of improving lives and strengthening communities by engaging all members of a village in the process of self-governance, including decisions relating to, and the management of, development projects. The results and sustainability of all our integrated development work depend on this foundation.

We hope that you will look through the window of our website and discover how Seva Mandir works with the rural people of southern Rajasthan, the urban poor in Udaipur city and two peri-urban communities, as well as with our partners and donors, to improve lives and strengthen communities, in the process facilitating and participating in the domain of rural development research.


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