About Seva Mandir
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. The organization’s broad mission is to construct the conditions in which citizens of plural backgrounds and perspectives can come together and deliberate on how they can work to benefit and empower the least advantaged in society.
What is distinctive about Seva Mandir is that it does not simply 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.
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.
For the past 50 years, Seva Mandir has worked patiently and with the utmost respect for the communities they serve. The success of the organization has been recognized through a long list of awards, partnerships with distinguished funders, including the Indian government, and by distinguished social scientists in the international development field.
Additionally, Seva Mandir offers a volunteer and internship program that hosts over 100 people from around the globe each year. These women and men, of all ages and ethnicities, come to India to experience firsthand how development is facilitated at the grassroots level and each makes a unique contribution to the community that is shaped by individual interests and skills, as well as the current needs of the organization.
Seva Mandir has nearly 300 full-time employees and over 1000 village-based workers who come from the communities they serve. The organization’s full-time employees hail from all over India, 29% are women, and 56% hold graduate degrees. In a remarkable testament to the strength of Seva Mandir’s leadership, the average length of employee service is 13 years and some have achieved tenures of 30 years or more.
In September 2018, in keeping with an established plan to infuse the organization periodically with new energy and perspectives, Seva Mandir welcomed Mr. Jannat Shah as the new president and Mr. Ronak Shah as incoming Chief Executive.