S M Sehgal Foundation (Sehgal Foundation), a rural development NGO, celebrated its twenty years of working together with rural communities by hosting a partnership meet at its green building campus in Gurugram on September 20, 2019. The organization established in 1999 as a public charitable trust to strengthen community-led development initiatives to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental change across rural India “When we established Sehgal Foundation with a vision to uplift village communities, we wanted to be a development-oriented NGO that is secular and non-political,” says Dr. Suri Sehgal, founder, Sehgal Foundation.
The partnership event witnessed several of Sehgal Foundation partners from the government and corporate sector coming together to celebrate the successful twenty years. Sehgal Foundation has entered its third decade in rural India with presence in over 890 villages across 27 districts in eight states of India and the work continues to grow. Ms. Anjali Makhija, chief operating officer, Sehgal Foundation, opened the partnership meet with her personal reflections on her nineteen-year journey and the organizational culture that she summed up as four P’s—Product, People, Pragmatism, and Promotion. She also gave an overview of Sehgal Foundation’s projects and interventions that include integrated grassroots program in agriculture development, water management, and rural governance, emphasizing innovation, impact, and sustainability, with an overarching focus on the empowerment of girls and women. Key aspects of each program culminate into the Transform Lives one school at a time program, which is giving hope for a better future to India’s rural schoolchildren.
Dr. Sehgal, reminiscing about the initial days in his address, shared his journey from his education as an agricultural scientist, his professional life with corporates, managing his own business, and then philanthropy. Mrs. Edda Sehgal also shared that there is visible change in the villages now, especially the spark that she has witnessed among women. Their empowerment and progress have always been close to her heart. She thanked all the partners in the process; individuals, educational institutions, government and corporate partners, all the collaborating NGOs who have helped ignite hope for a better future for the rural communities. The foundation’s twenty years anniversary report was also released at the occasion, followed by sharing of partnership experience with the foundation team. Select partnership projects were exhibited at the event to show the organization’s footprint in Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
Sehgal Foundation’s work has entailed lots of experimentation and learning by doing, and strategies have adapted as needed over the years, maintaining its fundamental approach. Sticking to core values, honesty, and transparency have enabled trust with the villagers, and working alongside communities the key to creating positive impact and sustainable change.
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