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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

From Delhi To A M.P. Village, The Culture Shock Led This Ex-Royalty To Start An NGO For Women

  • JWB Post
  •  November 5, 2016



Graduated From LSR and having lived in a very open environment in Jaipur, got married in the family of ex-royalty Ajaygarh and shifted to rural surroundings in Madhya Pradesh. It was a cultural shock for her.

“I was a young new bride and coming from a very modern and forward-looking background, I was shocked to see the condition of the women in these rural areas,” Shobhal opened up to me.

“We had big farms where I saw women working while their children played on the grounds. I went up to them and asked why they don’t go to school, and they had nothing to say. I understood their silence, and it deeply affected me,” Shobhal continued.

“So, what did you do next? Did you talk to your husband and family about it?” I asked, curiously.

“With their support, I could start my . I got married in 2002 and started with Surya Uday in 2004, and I was pregnant with my first child at the time. So, without my husband and mother-in-law I couldn’t have done it,” she explained.

Shobhal added, “I would also like to add that my father had been instrumental in the set up of Surya Uday. He helped me register the NGO as an all India organisation. He’s my pillar of strength.”

“During pregnancy, how did you manage the NGO?” amazed, I asked.

“I didn’t want to delay and had decided to contribute towards their education and health. So, we started organizing regular medical camps and sensitization workshops about the Pre- Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT),” told Shobhal, “I carried on the work for several years, but then we had to take a difficult decision to shift to Delhi for the education of our kids.”

“Surya Uday was operational after you shifted to Delhi?” I enquired.

“Yes, we had sponsors like Allahabad Bank who conducted the medical camps and distribution of necessities in the village. And, every vacation we went to Ajaygarh and I made sure to organize different campaigns under my supervision.”

Right then, Shobhal shared something very alarming. She told how they had to move out of Delhi because their children’s health had been suffering.

“My children were prone to Asthma and while in Delhi it worsened so much. We had to visit the doctor every week and once my son’s condition deterred so much that the doctor advised us to admit him in the ICU. It was that bad. Delhi’s state of pollution should be seriously looked into by the Government.”

Shobhal continued her contribution towards women empowerment and children welfare through adopting a basti school in Hasanpura village near Jaipur.

“I continued my work in M.P and Jaipur, both. My family supports me throughout, and I wish to help as many girls and women as possible.”

Me: Tell us more about the recent initiatives you have undertaken.

Shobhal: This Diwali, we have gifted 11 girls free education for one year. Each sponsor took up for one girl’s education, and they’ll be periodically sent report cards and progress reports. We’ll also track these girls growth throughout.

Also, recently, we have installed a Sanitary Pad incinerator in the basti school which will help in maintaining the hygiene and cleanliness of the school’s toilets. Last year, we also installed a water purifier. We also collaborate with institutions like FICCI Flo Jaipur Chapter to enrol our students into various training and skill development programs.

Me: Wow! That’s commendable. Having worked so closely for the rural women and children what do you think is the biggest issue?

Shobhal: I strongly feel that the rural mothers should be first educated so they can understand the importance of it. Also, the health set-up is really poor. We do many workshops for the awareness of proper hygiene and sanitation and its effects on health.

Me: Having seen both the urban and the rural set-up, what’s the one thing that hasn’t changed for women in India?

Shobhal: The pressure of marriage! Be it in villages or cities, after a certain age, the society pressurizes girls to get married. In my case, too, I had completed LLB from DU, and I was a promising candidate for the civil exams, but after a certain age, parents started talking about marriage. It grew into pressure, and I too caved in. Not that I regret it; I believe that if one opportunity closes, other things open up and with Surya Uday I feel that I was destined to do this.

But, yes, our social set-up and mindset are still not open to the idea of women being independent before marrying. And, not to be a hypocrite, but this social system is so deep rooted that even I sometimes feel that my daughter should get married after completing studies. I am just saying that even when I am so educated and have gone through the same thing, the social stigma around your daughter’s “age” is so much that it grips us, too.

So, we all have to work together towards changing our mindset and only then can we let go of such issues.

Me: What future projects are you working on?

Shobhal: Well, my next project was actually suggested by the women of the Hasanpura village only. They came up to me and expressed their wish to learn to write their names and read a newspaper. I was so moved by it and decided to take on this initiative of Adult Literacy. It will commence this month itself.

JWB lauds Shobhal’s contribution towards the upliftment of the rural women and her efforts for the girl child education.

P.S. If you want to support Shobhal Singh’s NGO, Surya Uday,  you can visit her website here.

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One thought on “From Delhi To A M.P. Village, The Culture Shock Led This Ex-Royalty To Start An NGO For Women

  1. Pingback: Here's How You Can Help NGO Surya Uday To Make This Winter A Warm One For The Slum Kids

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