Sambhali Primary Eduation and Vocational Training

Setrawa is a small desert village of around 3000 inhabitants, 110km west of Jodhpur. Located in the harsh environment of the semi-arid Thar desert, with temperatures reaching 46 degrees C in the summer months, the inhabitants face water shortages, power cuts, crop failures and sickness. The majority are employed in agriculture or mining, and working for survival takes priority over getting an education. The literacy rate in Setrawa is only 48% in females whilst 81% in males.

The Setrawa Empowerment Centre was Sambhali Trust’s second project, opening in 2007 and can be considered as Sambhali’s first Primary Education Centre. It was created to give young children access to a good educational programme in Hindi, English and Maths as well as incorporating educational workshops, medical check-ups and washing facilities for those children in rural hamlets with no water supply. Local tutors understand well the needs of these children and foreign volunteers are able to live in this community for several months to help with the children’s tuition. Some of these children have since been sponsored to go to school as well as 40 young girls going to 2 Boarding Homes in Jodhpur, (run by Sambhali Trust) to receive a good education.

Sambhali has been able to broaden the horizons of these children and has proved successful due to the number of years it has been running. Ex-students are now the centre’s manager and tutors and are all passionate about providing the children of the village with a good basic education. Alongside the children’s centre, a drop-in centre developed for women to come and meet and exchange ideas and opinions and discuss their personal concerns. This then developed into a Sewing Class, when the women themselves expressed the need to want to learn how to sew their own garments. Apart from being able to produce clothes for themselves and their family the vocational training also gave them the possibility to earn an income. There are about 15 older teenage girls and women attending this class 3 times a week.