As India celebrates its seventieth year of independence, those who are actively engaged in the vision of empowering rural India remain concerned about the well-being of India’s rural population. Close to seventy percent of India’s population lives in rural areas. With independence and a constitution of our own, we have important basic promises to ensure the well-being of India’s people. Of them, the guarantee of a dignified life is the most fundamental.

Seven decades of independence have seen numerous initiatives by government, non-government organizations, and individuals to secure a dignified life for the rural citizens living in poverty. However, much more needs to be done for all to lead dignified lives and participate effectively in strengthening the world’s largest democracy.

Sehgal Foundation works together to fulfil the promises of independence for rural people with the hope for a brighter tomorrow. We are here to contribute and develop models of excellence for rural development across India that can inspire the next generation.

As I participate in this opportunity to engage in the work of rural development, I wish to thank all the readers of Connect and every partner of Sehgal Foundation for your continuous support in our shared goals and initiatives. Indeed, our hope for a resurgent rural India has everything to do with our continuing partnerships. By working together, we aspire to help rural India be a haven where each citizen celebrates independence with a greater sense of freedom.

Ajay Pandey



Reinstating the traditional rain water harvesting systems in water deficient district of Alwar
by Shachi Chaturvedi
Kilometers of barren hills with just spare thorny bushes for vegetation speak for the paucity of water in the desert state of Rajasthan. Alwar district, gateway to Rajasthan and about 100 kilometers from the national capital, Delhi, is among the eight districts that have historically been water deficient. Traditionally, Alwar has also been home to water-conscious people, always underlining the importance of the scarce natural resource and conserving it with water harvesting structures. Building on this traditional wisdom, Sehgal Foundation has worked to strengthen community-led development initiatives to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental change across the region. Read more…


Knowledge exchanges at Sehgal Foundation

Talk on local governance institutions in Sudan by Mr. Doug Reeler 

Talk on ‘Karnal Gazetteer’ by Prof Yugank Goyal

On 5 August 2016, Sehgal Foundation hosted a talk by Mr. Doug Reeler, a social facilitator for the Community Development Resource Association in Cape Town, South Africa. His work focuses on social change process design and facilitation with a wide range of actors to develop more effective social change practices and co-creative, collaborative organizational forms. 

On 27 July 2016, Sehgal Foundation hosted a talk by Prof. Yugank Goyal on his recent experience of preparing a gazetteer for the Karnal district of Haryana. An eclectic group of students and faculty members, led by Prof. Goyal, compiled the gazetteer in less than four months. The document will soon be published by the Government of Haryana.  
Mewat youth enroll in paramedical skill training

Sehgal Foundation, in collaboration with Yuva Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., has initiated a paramedical skill training course for youth to provide them livelihood opportunities locally and at the same time improve service delivery in health institutions. Twenty-three youth, including eleven girls, have enrolled in the twelve to eighteen month long courses on pathology, X-ray, ultrasound technician, and patient care management.  These courses certified by Tata Institute of Social Sciences have potential to open promising employment avenues for the youth of Mewat.

Workshops on children and media 
The NGO, Save the Children, with support from CEMCA and Sehgal Foundation's communications resource persons, conducted workshops for children and mothers from slum communities in Mumbai, Patna, and Delhi in the months of June and July on using radio as a tool to voice their concerns. Sehgal Foundation communications staff, who have experience in operating a community radio station, planned activity-based learning sessions over two days for these groups. The training featured lots of talent and touched the emotions of participants. Trainees had fun! Upon orientation, the groups used storytelling, drama, interviews, and panel discussions to talk about issues in slums. They also agreed to work closely with other stakeholders in the community to address their daily ordeals and highlight community voices through radio.

Independence Day celebrations with a Kavi Sammelan 

A celebration of expression 
Jashn-e-Azadi, as the name suggests, is a celebration of freedom and independence. Participation from a diverse group of stakeholders—the community, local talent, civil society, government, and non government organizations made Jashn-e-Azadi splendid. The stage featuring kavis (poets) at the kavi sammelan (poets meet) in Mewat, Haryana on August 10, 2016 was proof of the rich culture and heritage of the region. The kavis came together on one platform to share their compositions on the notions of freedom and narrate inspiring tales of heroic contributions of the Mewati community in the freedom struggle, also reflecting on the many problems that the resident communities and our nation as a whole face today. Read more…



Women’s Empowerment, Community Engagement, and Sustainable Development Goals 
Sehgal Foundation works to strengthen community-led development initiatives to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental change across rural India. The foundation collaborates with communities in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Bihar. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, Gender Equality, achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls, is at the heart of all core development areas. Read more…



Voter Awareness Campaign in Panchayat Elections 2016, Samastipur, Bihar
by Navneet Narwal 
Elections are the backbone of democracy. The status and roles of gram panchayat (village council), an institution of local governance in our country, have evolved since Read more… 

Remote but Relatable 
by Eshaan Minocha 
The fact that any particular village in the outskirts of the metropolis, Delhi, is remote by comparison was put aside by the visit to Ghaghas in Mewat district of Haryana. Read more…


Editorial Team: Arti Manchanda Grover, Marly Cornell, Pooja O. Murada

Contributors: Ajay Pandey, Bhawna Mangla, Eshaan Minocha, Navneet Narwal, Padmavathi S., Shachi Chaturvedi, Shruti Kapoor, Vikas Jha

Design and Production: Communications team

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S M Sehgal Foundation | Plot No. 34, Sector 44, Institutional Area | Gurgaon, 122003,Haryana