SEDS, the Social Education and Development Society, was founded in 1980 by Rajen Joshua and Manil Jayasena as a grassroots development NGO, motivated by the desire to help the poorest of the poor in the drought-prone area of Anantapur District in Andhra Pradesh. In the early days, the main focus of the work was on community development by way of non-formal education and small loans to skilled target communities like cobblers, basket weavers, blanket weavers and others.

As Anantapur is the second most drought prone area in India and much of its natural resources are depleted, it soon became clear that environmental problems would have to be tackled first, if peoples’ livelihoods were to be made sustainable. Starting in 10 villages near the small town of Penukonda a scheme of pioneering work was developed which aimed to empower local communities and improve their environment. Initially small nurseries were started for homestead plantations and planting of avenue trees along village roads. Re-a-forestation and more sustainable agricultural practices were introduced. From 1990, SEDS started using a more participatory approach, through the formation of Community Based Organizations. Involving the communities more in the effort made them actual stakeholders in the development process of the region. Throughout the years the scope and area of the work increased and the fruits of the sustained efforts became visible in the greener environment and the enthusiasm of the communities.

Today, SEDS is working through an integrated rural development approach with an emphasis on women’s empowerment, watersheds, re-a-forestation and natural resource management. This is within five Mandals in the southern part of Anantapur District, in south western Andhra Pradesh namely, Penukonda, Roddam, Gorantla, Somandepalli and Chilamathur. In these 5 mandals SEDS currently supports 125 villages, being some 12000 women and their families, 980 Self Help Groups (SHGs), 120 Village Organisations (VOs) & 5 Mandal Samakyas (MMSs) .

Through its sustained efforts SEDS has made a significant impact on the lives of the people in the area and the local environment. The SEDS slogan “Towards a greener tomorrow” has become a reality.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Disha Kathuria: SEDS from the eye of a volunteer (Independence Day Celebrations)

On 15th August, 2014 India celebrated its 68 years of freedom. A day to be grateful for, became even more special for us when we were invited to be Chief Guests at SEDS school, Anand Vidyalayam. We accepted the invitation with love and humility, that Mr. Henry, the school's principal, had sent for us. Handwritten and heartfelt, it became a moment we'd cherish forever. And when the day came, we were left wonderfully surprised at the performance this 'school of joy' had put to celebrate India's Independence Day. 

The school premises were modestly decorated and filled us all with a sense of pride and belonging. 

The lovely audience gracing the occasion. 

The students dressed as prominent figures from our history.
 Students getting ready to sing the National Anthem.

 Teachers and a few other elders teaching students what it means to be free. 

The students of Anand Vidyalayam put up a grand show for the audience. Spellbound, we enjoyed every moment as the students danced, sang, acted and more. Kudos to Mr. Henry and his team of dedicated teachers who do their best to bring out the best in their students.

Photo Courtesy: Jasper Daniel and Disha Kathuria