Who we are
SEWA Rural is a voluntary development organization involved in health & development activities in rural tribal area of South Gujarat at Jhagadia since 1980. The activities were initiated by a group of young professionals having education & experience in India & abroad and based upon the ideals & ideas of Swami Vivekananda & Mahatma Gandhi.
SEWA Rural endeavours to reach out & assist the poorest of poor through various health & development programmes based upon the community needs & available manpower.
While involved in such activities it also seeks to ensure that the values are preserved and self development, in broader sense, of those involved in the work is achieved simultaneously.
Profile and principles
Keeping centrality of the mission the focus of all programmes has been vulnerable members of family i.e. the women, children & elderly and vulnerable sections of society i.e. the poor. In all activities an attempt is made to incorporate as well as balance the following three basic principles.
The activities include 100 beds Kasturba Hospital providing services to people from more than 1500 surrounding villages, community health project aiming to reduce maternal & newborn mortality in Jhagadia block with 1,71,000 population, training in primary health care for the workers of voluntary and Govt. sectors from Gujarat & beyond, Comprehensive Eye Care Programme covering population of 2 million spread in four districts, Vocational Training Centre for rural tribal youth followed by assured job for them in nearby industries beside few of them starting their own units. Various women related activities – empowerment, awareness & economic – were done under the aegis of SEWA Rural for last 15 years. These are being undertaken, from 2002, by SEWA Rural promoted independent organization– Sharada Mahila Vikas Society.
Some of the accomplishments of SEWA Rural included managing Gujarat Govt. entrusted primary health centre for more than a decade and achieving all targets of “Health for All by 2000” much before the target date, managing First Referral Unit granted by UNICEF & Govt of Gujarat providing critical care to delivery patients & new born covering entire Jhagadia block, making Jhagadia and Valia blocks, population 2.6 lacs, cataract free as per norms of WHO in 1998, employment avenues and economic betterment of some 1200 youth and women.
The organization also believes and works with all the sectors of civil society like local community, other voluntary organizations, Govt, private industries, academic institutions & foreign agencies so that the fruits of development & growth reach the marginalized and underserved sections of society i.e. women, tribal and the poor.
The story begins in early 60s. Few youngsters were studying in different colleges after graduation from schools. While studying they came across painful reality in form of poverty, inequality, exploitation and suffering in society. Themselves coming from middle class and even less, they did not have any means to do anything themselves. Beside they needed to complete study. In spite of that they gradually got filled with hope, dreams, enthusiasm and eventually determination to work for larger causes. They were filled with unselfish motive and desire of inward journey. Their small and straight forward prayers strengthened their resolve. These dreams and determination came about mainly due to reading of life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Gandhiji. Subsequently studies, work experience and also determination in India and US continued. Eventually this group of friends returned to India in later 70s to realize long held dream of working for the poor as per idea and ideals of Karma Yoga as expounded and exemplified in lives of Gandhi – Vivekananda. The result was Society for Education Welfare & Action – Rural.
The group moved around various places of Gujarat to select site to initiate work. They wanted to work in poor area where there were hardly any voluntary group working from people. The choice fell on rural – tribal area around Jhagadia due to several reasons. In 70s Bharuch district was one of worst district with low literacy, rampant poverty. widespread exploitation, absence of effective health facility and most of all. lack of awareness among people. In addition local community had offered to hand over partly defunct small maternity home. This appeared a blessed opportunity as largest and holy river Narmada was near by. In all enthusiasm all young members embraced upon giving shape and colour to almost 2 decades held dream. The day was 26 October 1980. Over a period of time other youngsters also joined the initial group drawn by life of innovation and fulfillment.
Board of trustees
Dr. Pratima Desai (Academician)
Dr. Pratimaben obtained her doctorate in academic administration from Southern Illinois university USA.
She has a teaching experience at graduate and undergraduate level from 1962 to 1965, and has a R & D expertise at SIU, USA from 1966 to 1976. She served as development officer fom 20 years at M.S. University after returning to India. Dr. Pratimaben has to her credit 7 publications in areas of organic Chemistry and study of administration of Indian university. Dr. Pratimaben is a founding trustee of SEWA Rural.
Dr. Anil Desai (General Surgeon)
Dr. Anil Desai received post graduate degree in surgery from the B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad. He is a Diplomat of American Board of Surgery. His professional experience has also been with Army Medical corps as captain, besides residency in general surgery at Ahmedabad and at Brooklyn Jewish hospital and Medical centre at Brooklyn, New York, USA – from 1971 to 1776. He is founding managing trustee of SEWA Rural and remained managing trustee till 1992. At present he is the superintendent of SEWA Rural Hospital.
Dr. Uday Gajiwala (Ophthalmic Surgeon)
Dr. Uday Gajiwala, is Vice President of a Mandavi based “Divya Jyoti Trust”. Dr. Gajiwala joined SEWA Rural after completing his M.S. (Ophthalmology) from B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad. Under his leadership SEWA Rural’s Eye Programme became one of the most effective programme in the whole country catering poorest of poor & providing Comprehensive Eye Care ranging from cataract surgeries, super specialty care to blind people’s rehabilitation. During his leadership, SEWA Rural received many prestigious awards for its eye project. Dr. Gajiwala started “Divya Jyoti Trust” in tribal area of Mandavi in 2011.
Shri Girish Shah (Chemical Engineer)
Shri Girishbhai Shah graduated in Chemical Engineering from L.D. Engineering, Ahmedabad. He has a long experience serving GNFC, Bharuch as a Chief Engineer and other organizations. He also has an experience of having travelled several countries including Europe and USA for his professional conferences and presentation of papers.
Dr. Lata Desai (Pediatrician)
Dr. Lataben Desai, have been post graduate in Pediatrics from B.J. Medical College and fellow of American Academy of Pediatrics. She is a founder trustee of SEWA Rural since 1980. Dr. Desai is a Chair Person of SEWA Rural’s sister organization, Sharada Mahila Vikas Society (SMVS). She has participated is several national and international symposiums and conferences.
Shri Subhash Shah (Lawyer)
Shri Subhashbhai (BA, LLB, B.Com) graduated from the Bombay University. He is a legal adviser and trustee to several public charitable trusts.
Shri Arvind Desai (M.Sc.)
Shri Arvindbhai Desai, graduate in Science, serviced Atul Limited at Valsad for 37 years, retired as a Manager – Quality control. He has also been a management representative for ISO 9000, Quality system for Atul B.I. Division. He is a founder trustee of SEWA Rural.
Shri Bankim Sheth (B.Sc., Microbiology)
Shri Bankimbhai Sheth joined SEWA Rural since it’s inception in 1980. Apart from Laboratory, he coordinated activities of the Community Health Project (CHP), hospital and VGTK over the years. Shri Bankimbhai is Managing Trustee of SEWA Rural since 2010.
Shri Bhikhu Vyas
Shri Bhikhubhai Vyas have received post graduate degree in teaching profession. He is trustee of several Charitable Trusts. He is an educator, editor and social worker. Shri Vyas has received many distinguished awards.
Dr. Pankaj Shah (Public Health expert)
Dr. Pankaj P. Shah graduated in Medicine from Baroda Medical College and completed his post graduation in Community Medicine from Surat.
He has a wide experience of work, mainly at SEWA Rural, since 1981. He joined SEWA Rural as a Community Health Physician and then took over as an Associate Director of CHP. Since 1990 he has been a trustee of SEWA Rural. He was Humphrey fellow at the Rolland School of Public Health, Atlanta, USA during 1999-2000. Under Dr. Shah’s leadership, SEWA Rural has received many awards for its Community Health Project. Dr. Pankajbhai is a Managing Trustee of SEWA Rural since 2003.Financial outlay
In recognition of social services rendered by SEWA Rural the following Awards are presented.
§ The World Health Organisation (WHO) Geneva awarded SEWA Rural the inaugural Sasakawa Health Prize 1985 for outstanding innovative community health work.
§ The hospital got an award as best managed non-government rural hospital for achieving excellent operational results and patient and community satisfaction from the Bombay Management Association and Bajaj Group of industries in 1989.
§ The then managing trustee, Dr. Anil Desai was given the Ashok Gondhia Award by Young Men’s Gandhian Association Rajkot for rendering best medical services throught SEWA Rural, in 1989.
§ Dr. Anil Desai was given the Vivekananda Seva Puraskar by Shri Burrabazar Kumarshabha Pustakalaya, Calcutta in recognition of the services of a social worker who has tried to be closest to the twin ideals of life as preached by Swami Vivekananda – service and renunciation in 1992.
§ SEWA Rural was honoured for its unique achievements enhancing global knowledgement and outstanding contribution to the welfare of Indian people through the fields of health and vocational services by Bochasanvasi Shri Aksharpurusottam Sanstha – organisers of the Shri Yogiji Maharaj Centenary celebrations in Gandhinagar in 1992.
§ SEWA Rural was one of the recepients of Samarpan awards given by Sadvichar Parivar, Ahmedabad, in 1993 in recognition of pioneering work in the field of health services on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Shri Aurobindo’s return to India.
§ SEWA Rural was honoured for its outstanding rural health and medical services by Jain Social Group, Bharuch in 1994.
§ SEWA Rural was conferred inaugural Santbal Award – 1995 instituted by Vishwavatsalya and Santbal Award Foundation, Ahmedabad for its significant contribution in upliftment of the rural, downtrodent and poor society.
§ Bharuch District Blidness Control Society (Central Govt. Sponsord) bestowed its award to SEWA Rural for performing highest cataract surgeries during the year 1994-95 among the voluntary organisations of Bharuch District.
§ SEWA Rural was conferred Diwaliben Mehta Award for its exemplary social work in voluntary sector in Jan.1999 at Bombay in presence of Rev. Pandurang Athavaleji.
§ Dr. Pinnamaneni and Smt. Seethadevi Foundation presented an award to SEWA Rural in 2002 honouring its imminent & pioneering work carried out in the field of medicine & social service.
§ The Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Surat conferred its Golden Jubilee Memorial Trust Excellence Award for the year 2003-2004 to SEWA Rural for its outstanding achievement in Social Welfare Programme.
§ Rotary Club of Bharuch presented Pathdarshak Award to SEWA Rural for rendering selfless service for the upliftment of the down trodden in Oct. 06.
§ Gujarat Divya Jivan Sangh and Shivananda Ashram Ahmedabad bestowed SEWA Rural with Shivananda Ratna Award for the generous and meritorious eye services rendered to the poor, sick and needy for more than 25 years in Nov. 06.
§ The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata awarded SEWA Rural with Vivekananda Medal 2006 in recognition of its meritorious work for uplifting the conditions of the rural and tribal people of Gujarat on 11th January 07.
§ Received prestigious MacArthur Awardfor “Creative and Effective Institution” in area of reproductive health.
§ Hospital received best FRU award tribal region in Gujarat.
Where do we work
Jhagadia block (“Taluka”) is located in tribal belt which stretches along the eastern border of Gujarat state. Its population is 191,000 (census data from 2011) which is predominantly tribal. Jhagadia town is 2 km. south of Narmada River. Apart of agriculture, G.I.D.C. is main source of employment.
Jhagadia is one of the most underdeveloped blocks of Gujarat state. Poverty, illiteracy and ill health are highly prevalent. Click here to know more about Jhagadia block (source: Census 2001). Please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaghadia to know more about some interesting facts about this area.