Jaipur and Jodhpur, India

Paths to Progress:  What's Happening in Jaipur & Jodhpur

Community Partner Highlights

environment.gifThe Jal Bhagirathi Foundation (JBF) aims to ensure the availability of fresh water to desert communities in the Marwar region of India. JBF promotes village-level capacity building, use of traditional knowledge and appropriate technology, community mobilization, and environmental respect.

health.gifSave the Souls hopes to help women achieve income security and independence through vocational training by encouraging, supporting and guiding women and children to their full potential. Save the Souls has established non-formal education centers offering lessons and organizes free awarenes camps in different communities.

equality.gifVikalp Sansthan is a social change initiative started by young activists. They encourage youth to work as agents of change in issues related to the sensitization of civil society, empowerment, sustainable development, and gender equity.

Jaipur and Jodhpur:
The Pink City and The Blue City

The largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is home to over three million residents. It is known as the “pink city” due to its striking pink-painted architecture. Although Jaipur is rapidly developing in many ways, there are large populations of under-served communities that are diving deeper into poverty as resources become depleted. Along with severe gender inequity, there is insufficient access to basic education and reliable healthcare.

About 242 miles from the pink city is the blue city of Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan. Although like Jaipur, it is a popular tourist destination, the distribution of wealth produced by tourism does not make a significant dent in some of the city’s biggest problems. Due to Jodhpur’s desert setting and conservative cultural practices, the city faces extensive environmental, labor-related, and educational development issues.



    Population: 3,175,000

    Avg. temperature: Low 67ºF / High 93ºF

    Local time:

    Official language: Hindi


Organization: JNP+
Topic: Human rights advocacy
Intern: Sophia Davis

The Jodhpur Network of People Living with HIV (JNP+) seeks to provide support and services for those living with HIV. JNP+ works to break down the harmful stigma surrounding the disease so HIV positive people can gain better access to opportunities. With the support of FSD Intern Sophia Davis, JNP+ started a home for HIV+ orphans.


Organization: Rupayan Sansthan
Topic: Environment

Rupayan Sansthan was recently honored by the state of Rajasthan for their work on oral history conservation through the ‘Arna-Jharna’ museum. Since their establishment in 1960, Rupayan Sansthan has researched and archived folk tales and songs to preserve the richness of indigenous language and knowledge. The facility itself collects rainwater, grows ethno-medicinal plants, and is a celebration of desert life.

A day in the life of an FSD Intern

Untouchable Army

Casey Lord partnered with Sambhali Trust, an organization whose mission is to empower Harijan (“untouchable”) women by providing them with an environment free from discrimination and new skills in sewing, embroidery and basic English. Casey's project involved improving the market prospects for Sambhali’s handicrafts.

Fighting the mounting summer temperatures of the Thar desert, I carefully wrapped, pleated and pinned my new cotton sari into position this morning in preparation for another meeting with Jodhpur bureaucracy. Saraswati has checked my tucks and folds and given me a red bindi--I look the part and I’m ready to go. Today I am going to the police station on behalf of a local Harijan woman whose life has been turned upside-down by her betraying, polygamist husband and in-laws. Pinkie’s husband has married and had a child with a fourteen-year old girl, bringing his ‘new family’ into the home where Pinkie and her children already live. The in-laws, also sharing the house, are favoring the ‘new family’ and are abusing Pinkie in an attempt to expel her. Pinkie has nowhere to go and has no control over the situation. I will stand with six other (also Harijan) women and protest for her basic right to a life without threat or violence.

This is not exactly an average day of my internship, but it’s certainly not unusual. There are forty-five participants who meet daily at Sambhali Trust but the outreach of the project is somewhat larger. Govind, the trust’s founder, is an incredibly dedicated and passionate man whose efforts overflow the trust’s permeable boundaries and touch the lives of many. The girls at the trust are encouraged to stand up for themselves, act on their own initiative and ultimately build a sense of worth and solidarity so deeply rooted that it will stay with them when they leave the project and bear fruit to a life more successful than that of their parents. Thus, when Pinkie approached Govind in dire straights she met not only a man who would refuse to turn her away but an army of forty-five young girls, all ready to fight for her cause.

I am almost halfway through my nine-week internship and have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about working with a grassroots organization and have become fully immersed in the local culture. I’m reaching a transitional stage of applying what I have learnt about the needs of the trust and its participants into a personal project, a project that coheres with the trust’s mission and serves to increase its sustainability. sewing.jpgQuality control and rigorous management are recurrent problems that NGOs with a sewing program face everyday, and I hope that my Western background can bring an alternative light into the organization. By researching successfully established organizations in the region Sambhali can develop a model on which to base its growth, and as the organization evolves into a self-sustainable project it can endeavor to support its participants even once they have left.

Govind has great dreams about the future of Sambhali and its sister organizations and I feel very excited to be a part of the realization of these dreams. I am grateful to FSD for providing me with the opportunity to work with such a special organization, to form a mutual relationship of new knowledge and experience, and for allowing me to join forces with a very unique army of empowered women.