Monday, June 22, 2009



I realized that I haven't really spoken much about the organization that I am working for here in Jodhpur. This is the first page of a proposal that I have been writing for continued funding of our sewing program by the Global Foundation for Humanity. It's a little out of context, but explains what it is we do here at the Veerni Project.



Beginning in 1993, the Veerni Project has worked tirelessly in its efforts to combat gender discrimination in the Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. Veerni’s success has come through the implementation of medical, social, and income-generating programs. One of the organization’s most important income-generation projects has been its sewing program.

Due to patriarchal social structures, women are not often given the opportunity to earn an income. Many women who could otherwise be generating additional money for themselves and their families are instead relegated to housework or childcare. The Veerni Project sees the employment and financial independence of women as a key factor for real social change. A woman who is not bound by the financial constraints of her spouse is able to independently provide for her family and take a more active role in their well-being. In the rural villages in which Veerni has implemented the sewing programs, participating women have benefited not only from increased financial efficacy but also from the resulting elevated social status. This “lifting up” of women is proving to be pivotal in ending the destructive cycle of discrimination and subjugation as these newly empowered women engage in the struggle themselves.

For all that Veerni does, it would not be possible without the support of international organizations and foundations. The success of the sewing program relies on Veerni’s capacity to provide girls and women with a qualified teaching staff and the necessary training materials. With your help, the Veerni Project’s sewing program will continue to provide this vulnerable demographic with the financial and social opportunities they so desperately need and deserve.

The Veerni team thanks you for your consideration of this proposal and looks forward to a continued relationship with the Global Foundation for Humanity by which we will further our shared goal of addressing injustice and ensuring human rights.


What is the Veerni Project?

The Veerni Project was founded in 1993 by Ms. Jacqueline de Chollet, in collaboration with the Global Foundation for Humanity. The Veerni Project’s mission is the empowerment of girls and women in rural Western Rajasthan through development of medical, educational, and social programs. Unlike many NGO’s, however, the Veerni Project is not built upon an unsustainable model of simple aid provision. Instead, Veerni generates a comprehensive and long-lasting impact on these communities by mobilizing women in grassroots campaigns. In Hindi, veerni means “heroine” – a word which symbolizes Veerni’s mission of encouraging women to fight to reclaim their rightful place in society and to demand the benefits of their inalienable human rights.

The Veerni Project, currently active in six rural villages, is composed of four general programs: a health outreach program, a malnutrition program, an educational program, and a social program.

Health Outreach
The health outreach program is comprised of a number of projects: primary healthcare, maternal and reproductive healthcare, child immunization, HIV/AIDS education and treatment, general healthcare workshops, and traditional midwife training. Veerni’s innovative clinics, workshops, and rallies facilitate honest dialogues within communities regarding the health of women and children.

Veerni has employed innovative approaches in its work to alleviate malnutrition among women and children in rural communities. Veerni, in 2007, launched its own brand of mineral-rich spirulina powder and soybean-based biscuits, both of which are proven as effective treatment for childhood malnutrition. In the drought affected areas that Veerni operates, the malnutrition programs have been effective at ensuring proper nutrition even during times of food scarcity.


Schools in Rajasthan are categorically substandard. This, combined with gender bias, results in parents who often deprive their daughters of educational opportunities by keeping them at home. To address the needs of these girls, and to ensure that they have the opportunity to benefit from the associated advantages of a comprehensive education, Veerni has organized a number of educational programs. Additionally, Veerni has established a successful Jodhpur-based boarding school (hostel) which currently provides eighty-five rural girls a complete and uninterrupted education.

Veerni’s social program is comprised of various projects that aim to improve the quality of life in Veerni’s villages, while providing women with the skills and confidence needed to employ their independence. Veerni's efforts have been vital in the acquisition of basic infrastructure in the villages such as potable water, electricity, improved roads, and other necessities for social development. Veerni, however, is most proud of its highly successful sewing schools. The Veerni Project’s sewing program empowers women and girls by training them in a trade that will allow them to establish and exercise their financial independence. It is this program for which the Veerni team requests your continued support.


So, there you have it. I go on and on after this about the sewing program and how awesome it is, how expensive it is, how vital its continuation is...but, correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think that most of you would be interested in all of the boring data and such.

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