Livelihood Support
(Manoj Bagde, age 58 years)

I belong to Dewri town which falls under Gondia district of Maharashtra. I was in the Morshi open prison and served my sentence. After completion of my sentence in the prison I never wanted an association with my own house again. I rather preferred to live on my own. With great difficulties.

I started a small tea shop beside the Tehsil office of Dewri. Initially, I did not have enough resources to at least fulfil the basic prerequisites to open a tea shop. My tea shopdid not have a roof on it and there were no places to accommodate the customers who visited my shop. On most occasions, I was unable to make my ends meet and found it difficult to even purchase the basic ingredients that is required to make tea. I sought for financial assistance from VARHAD and it came to my aid. It sponsored me ingredients for a month to make tea so that I make some money to survive. It also sponsored the equipment to build the roof of my shop along with some chairs to accommodate the customers. I would always remain grateful to VARHAD for its generosity, which strengthened me to stand on my own feet and at present I earn my living and living peacefully.

Livelihood Support
(ChandraShekhar,age 45 years)

I belong to Nandgaon village of Gondpipri block which falls under Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. I was in the Nagpur Central Jail and after my release I started living with my sister. I had an idea in my mind that I will not be able to find source of a decent livelihood because I was in the prison.

Therefore, I had to look forward to finding a source of livelihood on my own. I knew fabrication work and wished to have a machine but I had no money to serve this purpose. I had enormous trust in VARHAD because its intervention helped me to release from the prison when I had no one with me. I again decided to request VARHAD to show its helping hand in finding a source of livelihood. VARHAD showed its helping hand and sponsored me a welding machine to do the fabrication work and lead a dignified life. I will always remember the contribution of VARHAD in my life till I breath the last.

Livelihood Support
(Kamini B. Ingle, age 50 years)

I belong to Asigaonpura which falls in Chndurbazar block of Amravati District. After my release from the prison, I lived with my parents and I did not want to be a burden to him. Therefore, I intended to live on my own and take care of my children. Meanwhile, I came across a person

who liked me in my place before my marriage but for some reason it did not get materialized. I leant that her wife also passed away and he is open to marry me. I also showed the interest of remarrying and got married to him. His children and other family members embraced me and I got a support system. We decided do something productive and I wanted to seek for the assistance from VARHAD and I received financial assistance of Rs. 5000 from VARHAD. I received another Rs. 5000 under the Muktabandi Scheme. this amount helped me to purchase some goats and start a goatery farm. Today myfamily is self-sufficient and living a happy life due to the intervention of VARHAD.

Livelihood Support
(Pradnya S. Mohod, age 32 year)

I live in Jumna village which is near Amravati. VARHAD played a pivotal role in releasing me from the prison. I have two kids and I had to look after them independently after releasing from the prison. I undertook vocational training when I was in the prison

and I know stitching and I was confident to take up some job related to it. I had immense faith in VARHAD as it released me out of the prison and therefore, I sought for some financial assistance from VARHAD and it provided me with the items like bangles, earrings, artificial jewelries and cosmetics items which I went door-to-door and sold. I was able make some money out of it and I looked after my family utilizing this money. During this time, I came across an organization which gave training on how to do organic farming. I was keen to join this training programme and went to Pune and received the training for a month and then I came back. After coming back from Pune, I was searching for a new job opportunity. I came across a contractual job vacancy in the Forest Department and luckily, I was able to get through the job. Initially, I worked in the garden and but later on, I was asked to be in the office and attend the phone calls at the reception. My contract was meant for 11 months but it gets renewed every year because of my proficient in the work. VARHAD has been a pillar of support for me and which is why I could reach up to here.

Educational Support
(Sonu G. Parekar, age 23 years)

I come from Wadi village of Nandura block which is in the Buldana district of Maharashtra. I am a visually impaired child by birth and at my home, my contribution for any aspect was little. My parents were charged with criminal offences and they were imprisoned. I lived along

with my other siblings in my uncle’s house. My condition was distressing there and which is why my parents were always worried about me even being in the prison. My parents had knowledge about VARHAD and they tried to approach VARHAD from the prison to communicate about me. They sought for possible assistance for my education as everyone else was studying except me. VARHAD arranged a special residential school for me in Amravati and sponsored everything that is required for a visually impaired child to get education. I started studying there up to 7th standard and did well in the exams and aspired to go for further studies and VARHAD generously fulfilled my aspirations by sending me to another school in Nagpur and there I completed my 10th standard and secured 65%. I kept my hope alive to study further and with the massive help of VARHAD, I got admission in a residential school run by Social Justice and Special Assistance Department, Government of Maharashtra. My journey of education was not stopped here and I still dreamt of studying further and VARHAD was with me in my journey and assisted me to get into a college in Amravati. VARHAD did what my parents could have never done and indeed it did more than my parents could do. If VARHAD was not in favour of me, I would have been at home and would have been completely dependent on my family members. Today I am independent and whatever I am today this is because of VARHAD and I cannot thank enough for what it has done for a person like me who never imagined to even step into a school. I found a different world for me only because of VARHAD.

Educational Support
(Ujwala Kazdekar, age 13 years)

I am from Mnadwa village of Dharni block in Amravati district. After my mother’s imprisonment, there was no one to look after my elder brother and me. We did not know how to survive. Our house was dilapidated and the animals like pigs, dogs and cows always entered into our houses.

None of our things were safe in our house, whenever they entered, they messed everything. We had big trunk box where we kept whatever valuable we had and slept in the house of our neighbours. We had a ration card and using this we availed the rice from the public distribution system. Half of the rice we sold to take care of other essentials in our house. Most often we had the midday-meal from the school where we studied and the cook was generous enough to allow us to carry extra meal so that we could have it at night. My brother was irregular in going to school because he had to go for work in order to meet our necessities. My mother shared our plight with VARHAD and it comprehended our plight and came forward to our aid. VARHAD provided us with clothing, shoes and school kits when it visited us for the first time. We were delighted receiving these stuffs because for a longer time we did not have good clothes and shoes to wear. VARHAD gave us Rs. 1000 to visit our mother in the prison but for some reasons we could not make a point to meet her. Later we got to know that VARHAD has arranged residential schools for both of us. VARHAD wanted us to meet our mother before we enter into the schools. A day before, one of employees of VARHAD took us to Amravati city and accommodated in her house. She treated us like her own children and gave us new clothes, food and she sent us to get a haircut and made us ready. One the next day we went to meet our mother and she broke down seeing us that we have been taken well care of by VARHAD. After the meeting we went to the respective schools. I am grateful to VARHAD for doing so much for us. we would have been in the worst condition if VARHAD were not there.

Adult Literacy Programme
(Sunita R. Bhokre, age 55 years)

I come from Nimba village of Bhatkulli block in the Amravati district. I had studied up to 7th standard before I got imprisoned. I always tried to spend some time in reading newspaper in the prison and got fascinated to go for higher studies and I wanted to make something productive in the prison during my stay in the prison.

I enquired with VARHAD if it can help me out to study further as it helps everyone in need. VARHAD intervened considering my desire to study further and got me enrolled in an open school where I completed my 10th standard and 12th standard respectively. I somewhat did well in those exams and later on I was able to enroll in a college for doing my graduation with the help of both VARHAD and prison authority. VARHAD was instrumental in fulfilling my desire and it was a dream that came true in my life. I would always remember VARHAD for this generous gesture.

Adult Literacy Programme
(Ramkali S.Kubre, age 45 years)

I belong to Beitul village of Melghat block in Amravati district. In the prison I noticed that there is an organization called VARHAD which is setting up a Balwadiinside the prison for the children of prisoners. I was fascinated by the way in which the small kinds leant in the Balwadi.

. I used to sit in a corner and observe how the teacher is writing on the blackboard and I constantly imitated her action and tried to write on a paper. I saw including me there were about 11-12 women who were interested to learn as the small kids learnt. We showed our interest to learn and requested VARHAD to allow us to learn along with the kinds. However, VARHAD initiated an Adult Literacy Programme for women prisoners. I was happy to be part of this learnings process and grabbed the knowledge all that I could. Over a period of time, I was able to read the newspaper and write letters to my family members. With the immense support of Amravati Municipal Corporation and VARHAD I was allowed along with other inmates to appear for the 4th standard Board Examination inside the prison premises under the supervision of 6 invigilators and other concerned authorities. It was a matter of pride that, I was able to complete 4th standard officially and received the marksheet from the then honourable education minister Mr. Vasant Purke. This programme made me literate and when I was I the prison, I was dependent on someone to write a letter for me and I found it difficult to express my feelings through a letter which was written by someone else. Now I am happy that I can write my own letter and can read everything which are required. VARHAD changed my life completely and I can express proudly that VARHAD has changed my life and gave a new hope of living.

Beneficiary of Samrat Ashoka Study Centre
(Pratibha Dongre, age 35 years)

I live at Uttam Nagar in Amravati city. My husband worked in VARHAD as a para social worker. He enlightened me about the fact that VARHAD offers a 24/7 free library for the ones who are aspiring to get through some Government jobs. As I was an aspirant of doing a Government job,

. As I was an aspirant of doing a Government job, this place was an utmost necessity for me. I enrolled in the library and availed all the facilities that are offered for the Government job aspirants. The library provided me with an atmosphere to gain the much-needed knowledge for appearing the competitive examinations. The library was well-equipped with the books, magazines and other study material which I would have never been able to afford. In the library, there used to be career counselling and career guidance sessions which enhanced my knowledge and thought process to explore more. Other aspirants like me, spend thousands of Rupees for learning all these but I was fortunate enough to learn all these for free and get through a government job. I will always remain indebted to VARHAD for giving me the platform to do well in my life.

Beneficiary of Samrat Ashoka Study Centreand free Hostel facility of VARHAD
(Harsal Mundre, age 32 years)

The name of my village is Anekwadi which is under Tivsa block of Amravati district. I was one of the beneficiaries of VARHAD library. I was fortunate enough to get free accommodation and free access to the library for five years.

I come from a lower middle-class family and for me to live in a city like Amravati would have never been very easy. If I had to stay, I would have been able to stay only for a year or so. I would have never been able to afford the expenses. I felt privileged that VARHAD was there to facilitate everything that was necessary for me in the process of preparation for the Government jobs. VARHAD invited distinguished personalities from different walks of life to give us career guidance and knowledge which they shared with us helped us to go in the right direction. During my stay, I never found any difficulties, every problem was addressed, right from the study materials, financial, food and accommodation. I never got any chance to worry about any of these aspects. Everything was well arranged and well managed. Today I am a Sales Tax Inspector all because of VARHAD. I am proud to give all the credits to VARHAD and its contribution in my life will always remain priceless.