Visit from MoMA
On the 26th of January, trustees of MoMA were invited to see the work Seva Mandir has been doing in the village of Delwara. About 25 people were divided into to groups and taken on a walk around the town, and shown various elements of Seva Mandir’s key interventions.
Seva Mandir’s relationship with Delwara started about 25 years ago through an income generation program, which today has grown into the very successful and independent business Sadhna, driven solely by women. At present, Seva Mandir is supporting the work to improve sanitation, organize waste management, increase access to water, preserve the heritage of Delwara, and to give a better environment for the youth.
During our walk, we saw many indicators on how the progress of Seva Mandir’s work. Our starting point was the largest step well that has been restored and cleaned, and as we progressed through town, we saw other smaller wells, as well as clean drains. 5 community managed water tanks has also been built, saving the women hours of labor involved in fetching the water from afar.
We walked by a group of women sitting together outside, working on products for Sadhna. We learnt that instead of doing the work in their homes, they are encouraged to work together both to solve problems related to the handicraft, but also to strengthen the confidence and independence in the group.
As we walked further into the town, we saw several of the toilets that have been built, and signs of how well the waste management is working since there were hardly any signs of rubbish along the road! We also bumped in to the bicycle rickshaw driver who rides around in the village and collect waste. Delwara has a rich heritage, and during our walk we saw temples, step wells and old havelis, many which have been significantly restored and cleaned. We made a visit to a pottery were a man in his 70’s was still carrying out his craft, and a group of children proudly showed us some of the artwork newly produced. The walk is part of an initiative to train youth to research and lead tours of the town, where they show both the physical heritage and the contemporary social change of Delwara, to renew pride in the local patrimony and share Delwara’s story with outside visitors.
The group seemed really interested, and our walk was prolonged as the members of the group enjoyed the different stops and had many questions. The intimate arrangement of the walk made it easy for everyone to engage, and perhaps also the town in itself with its citizens encouraged us all to stay a little longer and enjoy our time in Delwara.
Our last stop was at the Common Facility Centre that Sadhna has set up in Delwara, where we enjoyed refreshments and chai. The MoMA group spent some time in the shop, and their purchases at Sadhna was a very generous contribution towards their work. Thank you!