Modan Nargis

Even in today’s time, the identity of a woman is often formed as a mother, grandmother, or wife. Her talents and capabilities are measured by the food she cooks and how far the house is cleaned. So how do we see women as individuals, individuals with an identity, individuals with their talents, capabilities, desires, and aspirations? We never get time to sit and talk about what she likes and what makes her happy. Seldom do we move beyond questions like “Aaj khane mein kya banana hai” or “ye saman Kahan Rakhahai”.

Sanchetana has been working with women for a very long time. Their interaction and discussion include all women across the banner of class, caste, religion, social-economic division, educated, uneducated, etc. Some women join centres for short-term vocational courses, some come for health groups, and some as health leaders. Sanchetana has been connected to a thousand families. Its close association with women helped the team understand society and women better.

Many women have been part of the Sanchetana vocational training programme and Health Group. Initially, they can come as mothers or wives, but they leave as individuals, individuals with their own identities and independence. Sanchetana nourishes them with skills and creates a space where they can talk. Talk about her body, her feelings, emotions, well-being, desire, and fascination, and rediscover the identity that she had forgotten long ago. It never ceases to amaze the team how much untapped and limitless potential women possess; how quick-witted they are; how bold they are; and how bold their choices are. They are kind and strong at the same time; they’re self-sufficient; and they dream of the sky, mountains, and beaches. They are fighters and multitaskers. They have stories and histories of strength. They are fearless, they have opinions, and they want to talk about art, politics, and everything else. And some even want to challenge gender stereotypes.

During the interaction, team Sanchetana met one such 19-year-old, Modan Nargis, from Bombay Hotel (Narol), Ahmedabad, who is an inspiration to all. A second-year B.Com student from Gujarat University is quite quick-witted with a charismatic personality and fills the room with enthusiasm and excitement. She constantly pushes herself to be stronger and better every day and strives hard to bring her desires into reality and desires to learn everything. Initially, she joined Sanchetana Vocational Training Centre in 2016 for a computer course. She knew the basics already and had enough research about the scope of computer skills and the demand in the job market for it. She completed the course religiously. Later, she completed her desktop publication course (DTP), also from Sanchetana.

When Nargis also joined the Health Club, the discussions were very engaging with her presence. She motivated other girls to join and participate in the discussion. The Health Club made her happy as she could talk about sexual and reproductive health in the group that she couldn’t speak about anywhere else. She also joined the Non-Violent Communication (NVC) training organised by the team Sanchetana. The training helped her to learn more about herself. She was an active participant in various workshops and trainings organised by the team; she never missed any. In one such program, she got to know about driving licenses, and from there she was determined to learn to drive. It didn’t take her long to get the car driving lessons and get a license. She is also fascinated by the English language, and after considering the benefits of other vocational training programs, she enrolled in the English-speaking course at the Sanchetana Vocational Training Center. She worked hard and, till the end of the course, grasped all the grammar rules and she spoke quite fluently. This improved her confidence and communication skills.

Modan Nargis is now working as an English teacher at the vocational training centre in Sanchetana. She is independent and confident. Her father, Kadar Bhai and mother, Modan Rashida Banu, are proud of her, and her siblings see her as a role model. She always encourages girls to join the Sanchetana and she expresses her gratitude for the organisation.

“I felt that I had all the potential. All I needed was a push and a direction, and Sanchetana did that. I am happy that I am independent now and I have an identity. I am still looking forward to learning more from here, said Modan Nargis.”

Sucess Story

“If I hadn't had Sanchetana by my side"

If I hadn’t had Sanchetana by my side, I might have ended up as a daily wage laborer, wandering from place to place in search of work; I might not have realized my passion and achieved it, and my life wouldn’t have been the same”, said Ansari Sarmin.

Ansari Sarmin lives in New Faizal Nagar, near Bombay Hotel, Ahmedabad. She started her education at a nearby local school and later had to drop out of the same school after finishing class eight with a basic knowledge of Gujrati and the Hindi language.  Her father Mohammed Yusuf sells footwear in a larry (cart on the wheel) and her mother Samima Khatoo supplements the household income by making and selling face masks. Even though both of them worked hard, they did not earn enough money to cover Ansari Sarmin’s education expenses and augment money for food and a roof for the family. It was a wise decision for them at that time if Sarmin could drop out of school, do some menial jobs, and supplement the household income. “I had to drop out from school in class 9th and do some menial jobs in the day and help my mother in making dinner in the evening”, said Sarmin. I always wondered, “don’t I have many dreams and aspirations like others?”. I had no idea about my passion.

Ansari Sarmin has been a member of the Sanchetana Community and Research Center since 2020. The team always motivated its members to attend the seminar sessions. Sanchetana has been working constantly in the education sector. One of their important interventions here is providing assistance to adolescent girls and women to pursue higher education or various degree programs, and this is done through providing them with financial aid like scholarships or arranging counseling sessions, group meetings, and career guidance in collaboration with private or govt. institutes so that they can choose the right career option. It was at one of the career counseling seminars which Sarmin was attending where she heard about the course for being a nurse assistant. As soon as she heard about it, her brain compelled her ears and eyes to focus, and she listened very carefully. At the end of the session, there was a bright spark in her eyes. She had her eureka moment. For the first time, she knew exactly what she liked, what she wanted with her life, and what she had been sent to Earth for. Very hastily, Ansari Sarmin made her way to the seminar to collect the rest of the information regarding the course. The course was happening at Gandhi Nagar University, Vishalpur, Ahmedabad. It was quite far from Bombay Hotel, Narol, the place where she lived. But with all the enthusiasm and excitement, that was very much bigger, and the distance between GandhinagarUniversity (Vishalpur) and Bombay Hotel looked very small. She was excited for the entire time. Her feet were in the air and not on earth. They only came down to earth when she saw the fees of the program. It was three thousand, which almost cost her a fortune.  Even if she risks all her savings for it, she’ll still not be able to pay for it as it also comes with transportation costs, as the location is quite far.

Ansari Sarmin talked to the Sanchetana team about her immense interest in the Nurse Assisting Course. The Sanchetana team stepped forward to offer partial pay for the course only if she promises to pursue it religiously and complete it with good grades. Without a second thought, Sarmin agreed. Her application form was filled in, the fee was paid and soon the course started. She used to travel alone, even though Vishalpur was quite far. Her parents were quite supportive during this entire time, of course, and trusted their daughter. As soon as she completed her nurse assistant course, she started applying for a job. She got an interview at one of the hospitals and cracked it. She started with a job as a nurse, and after working for a few months, she shifted to another job. Now she earns around fifteen thousand per month. She reads regularly and tries to keep herself updated with new knowledge and skills that will help her in her career and build her resume.

“I thank Sanchetana very much for where I stand today.” There are many reasons to be grateful to the team, said Sarmin. I would have never realized my passion, and second, accomplished that passion. Sanchetana supported me since the start of the course by assisting with fees and till the end of it by helping me with my documentation so that I could apply for the job. They even made my voter ID card.  Sarmin’s parents say, “It’s all because of the support of Sanchetana that Sarmin is working in a professional job. No one in our family has ever worked in a professional field with a fixed salary before.” We feel very proud. “Bless the team”.

There have been so many stories like Sarmin Ansari’s for whom Sanchetana is working rigorously and innovatively to help them realize and accomplish their dreams and passions.

Always a room for improvement

Salma Shah, a 22-year-old lady has been associated with Sanchetana Community Health and Research Centre (Sanchetana CHRC) for almost four years. She started her journey with Sanchetana in the year 2016. Being a beautician was her passion; she was working in a beauty parlour without any professional training and was very passionate about her work. Even though she was not trained, she was good with the work and always got positive feedback from the visitors. She wanted to gain more knowledge and learn different techniques to give better service to her customers. She learned basic and advanced course at Sanchetana’s vocational training centre and she was very intrigued to learn more about it.

Before being a part of this organization, she never got a chance to get training from a professional. She learned and sharpened her skills by watching others. She used to practice threading, facial on her neighbour’s face. Her neighbour was a generous lady and wanted Salma to excel at her job. For over a year, she practiced on her own and after 2-3 years joined Sanchetana.

After completion of the course, she got to learn new techniques and realized that she was unaware of many things.“Those who keep learning, keep rising in life” and Salma has proved it to be true.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic Salma’s parlour was closed but she didn’t stop working. She also started doing bridal makeup and was earning approximately Rs. 15,000- 20,000 per month. She is an independent woman and is also capable of helping her family at such a young age.

Like Salma there are other women whose lives has changed after being in association with Sanchetana.

Not Scared Anymore

Reshma has been in association with Sanchetana for15 years. She has 4 children, 3 girls and a boy and her husband is a rikshaw driver. All her daughters are associated with Sanchetana and have enrolled themselves for the vocational courses available in the organization. One of her daughters has opted for the Henna course, the other for sewing course and the eldest daughter has completed the beauty parlour course from Sanchetana. Her eldest daughter is as well-trained beautician and is also mentoring other girls who wish to pursue the beauty parlour course.

Reshma believes that she has gained more freedom and confidence after being a part of this organization. According to her, before being part of this organization she was scared to go out of her house and talk to people but, now she is confident enough to talk and raise her points in front of other people Sanchetana has taught Reshma to be fearless and confident. She can now talk to people and go out and work. Her association with Sanchetana has brought changes in her mindset as well as her family.

Reshma truly feels that the courses available at Sanchetana will definitely help many girls in the future to get secure jobs after learning the skills.

If you learn something new every day, you can teach something new every day.

Rafisa has been in association with Sanchetana since 7-8 years. Her father is a rikshaw driver and mother is a housewife. She completed her 12th standard but could not study further due to the Covid-19 outbreak. She learned about a summer camp which was conducted by Sanchetana and took part in the activities conducted in the camp. She also joined other vocational courses at Sanchetana like Computer, Learning English and the beauty parlour course. She has successfully completed all the courses and is also teaching the beauty parlour course at the Sanchetana Vocational Training Centre.

Rafisa’s family supported her when she decided to be a part of Sanchetana. She believes that she has gained more knowledge and freedom after association with this organization. Sanchetana also educated them about their body, anaemia, menstruation and the importance of having healthy, nutritious food. After being a part of this organization, she has observed a positive change in her outlook.

Sucess Story

A will finds a way

We all might have heard that “Where there is will, there is a way” which means that if someone has the desire and determination to do something, he or she can find a method for accomplishing it. Jatin, a 15 year old boy is a Science enthusiast and enjoys learning topics such as robotics. He also made a boat with the help of his 12 year old brother, Jaydeep.

He has been associated with Sanchetana Community Health and Research Centre for quite some time now and has gained expertise from the teachers in the organization. At present, he is working on a new project, i.e. a remote control car. Jatin wished to pursue Science as his stream but couldn’t due to his family’s financial conditions. He didn’t give up on his passion and continued to work on his project. He didn’t have enough money to buy all the parts required for the project. He collected the spare parts from scrap, saved money to buy the batteries and finally succeeded in making the car.

The teachers at Sanchetana have guided and helped Jatin in completing his projects. Students like Jatin are talented but are sometimes tied down by the family’s financial conditions. We must encourage them and do as much as we can to help them.

Rajeshwari Marwadi

I am Rajeshwari Marwadi, living at Khodiyaarnagar, Beharampura, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I have joined Sanchetana’s health club in 2020. When I joined the team, was least bothered about my own body and health. I was not aware of nutrition, menstruation, importance of mental health etc. Through the training in Sanchetana I got acquainted with anemia its causes, signs & symptoms, nutrition, mental health etc. I became aware about changes taking place in the body in terms of physical appearance and hormonal fluctuations during adolescence; about reproductive system-its parts and functioning; occurrence of 28-42 days of menstrual cycle, menarche, estrogen and progesterone changes taking place on each day on the cycle, age of menopause, importance of changing pads at 4 hours interval to avoid infection, how to maintain personal and intimate area hygiene, consulting doctor if white discharge occurs for more than 2-4 days as it can cause weakness to women and can be because of infection. In addition, I was informed about functioning of hypothalamus and pituitary glands. I gained tremendous knowledge after pursuing training and could also share the same with others to benefit them.

Sanchetana also organizes educational trips and training camps which helps to gain more knowledge and experience. In a trip to Jambughoda, Rajeshwari learned that “We must enjoy the present without over-thinking of the future”. She also got a chance to interact with some doctors and gained some insights about our body functions which are really important for girls to know. These educational trips are great initiative by Sanchetana which help to gain knowledge.

Now I am the leader of my health club, this position gave me an understanding of what is leadership. I learned to care about my fellow members also. Sanchetana gave me an opportunity to understand, mentor and polish my abilities and knowledge. Sanchetana changed my life and my thinking. I feel so grateful to be a part of the organization.    

Sucess Story

Kiran Rajesh Ballat

Kiran Rajesh Ballat, 34, is a homemaker with a family that includes her husband, who owns a polishing machine, a two-year-old kid, her mother, sister, brother, and sister-in-law. Kiranben is a 7th-grade pass out, who was unable to continue her education further, probably due to the financial difficulties in her family when she was younger. Kiranben and her family live and reside in the Suez Farm area.

Kiranben was asked about how she got to know about the Sanchetana organization and why she decided to be a part of it. She replied: She got to know about the organization from one of the team member, from her society, who used to visit, and used to meet several other women and shared health-related knowledge with each other. She got the information and decided to join the adolescent health program when she was 17 year old and now at the age of 34 she is still with the organization’s women’s program. From the program, she got to know and learned a lot about the various diseases such as Anemia, Malaria and etc, something that she was totally unaware of. On the other hand, she also was able to talk freely, learn, and be aware of menstruation, white discharge and other taboo subjects in her environment. Kiranben had no prior knowledge about the world and current affairs. After joining the institution, Kiranben has gained confidence and has learned a lot from the organization, she also performs in various dramas and other activities in different places. Whatever knowledge she obtains and learns, she shares it with her family, which has brought a lot of difference in her personal life and has improved the relationship in her family.


Sukhiben is a Community Development Volunteer (CDV) withSanchetana for many years. Her age is 67 years now and she is very active. Her husband aged 72 years and doesn’t earn.She has a son and daughter and they say that her husband has always been supportive to Sukhibenand never denied Sukhiben to participate in Sanchetana’s work. She began to participate in different programs of Sanchetana from the year 1997 in theChild and NutritionProgram, where she made food for malnourished children of the community and motivated mothers to do the same. She received health-related training in pre and postnatal care. Sukhiben, in early 2000, participated in the Adolescent Health Program of Sanchetana, in which she visited the home of many girls and talked to their parents. She grew slowly as a leader with her strong leadership skills. She formed a group of 10 women and helped them to open an account. Sanchetana has helped her to boost up her self-confidence. She took a loan of Rs. 10000 from our capital assistance program. She beganto purchase the jewellery of Bagasara metal and sold it. Sanchetana gave her information and helped her reaching out to exhibitions and she could begin her small stall with the financial assistance she received. Today she is independent and in a much better change of her own life. It is her wish to remain associated with Sanchetana’s work in her whole life.



Meeraben, our 52-year-old partner, resides, with her family consisting of her husband and 7 children (5 daughters and 2 sons), in Garibnagar area of Behrampura, Ahmedabad. Her husband is a labourer. In the year 2006, her daughter Yogita associated with the institution.(Our team members visited their areas regularly and gave information related to health which Meeraben found useful. This encouraged her to bond with the institution as a leader- Community Development Volunteer (CDV) in the year 2010. According to her, she was provided with diverse information related to the menstrual cycle, menstrual hygiene, prevention and treatment strategies against various diseases like anaemia, HIV, etc, food habits and misconception of avoidance of food due to its nature, the inequalities prevailing amongst men and women in the society. She further added that she was made aware of the problem faced by young girls due to the tradition of child marriages. Because of all these experiences Meeraben developed a fresh perspectiveand didn’t get her daughters married at a young age. She gives credit of the same to the institution.

She adds that the institution introduced her other side of the world and its varied ideologies. She visited places like Parvati hills, Kutch, etc. She also participated actively and enjoyed various cultural programs organized by the institution. Most importantly, Meeraben is now proud to vocalize that she has imbibed self-confidence under the guidance of the institution. Presently for standing up against and resolving any issues related to water and sewage, she reaches out to the relevant Government officials with other women of her area. Actions like these gave a boost to her self-confidence. Meeraben currently earns money with the help and counsel of Sanchetana. She took a loan of Rs. 10000 from the capital assistance program in the year 2015-16 for setting up her ownbusiness of bleach and washing powder, which presently exists. She became self-dependent under the income generation program by Sanchetana. She maintains her family with the revenue generated through her business. Also, she has got her two daughters who now have grown up, married. At present, she has decided to make her daughter-in-law jointhe institution as well, as Meeraben says that institution played a role of parents who gave her a proper direction in her life and made her self-dependent and gave her and her family a life of respect for which she always is grateful.

Ansari Noorjahan Mahtaab Alam

I joined in Sanchetana’s Health club and in Non-Violent Communication (NVC) programs. I used my training home. My elder brother didn’t want my younger sister to pursue education after 8th class. I understood his position and my sister’s choice. I could build a bridge between both of them and convinced him of importance of education. This became possible because of the NVC insights.  I also am able to find peace of mind after understanding my feelings and vocabulary to express them. Understanding the importance of making choices with right understanding has given me the space to explore many new choices.In health club classes I learned about anaemia- its causes, diet that should be followed, nutrition-rich foodstuffs, and details of the menstrual cycle. Initially, I feared stepping out of home alone but now I am fearlessly able toattend meetings conductedevery month.  I can confidently talk to others, make new alliances and enhance my knowledge through discussions. I became self-confident, independent and I wish to engage my younger sister with Sanchetana so that she too could experience the positive life changes.

Shaikh Firdosh Farookhbhai

I could study only till 8th class since my father believed that it’s not essential for girls to study and do jobs later in their lives. Because of such mind sets of people around me, I too refrained from exposing myself to the happenings of the world. Once, a team of Sanchetana came to our area and shared Sanchetana’s work with us So Adolescent girls from our areas including me enrolled in the Health Club Program.  I didn’t miss any of the meetings which were conducted once a week to educate us about our SR health and hygiene. I got to know everything about anaemia- its causes, effects, and diet to be followed. In addition to it, I understood the causes and reasons behind menstruation, personal hygiene to be maintained during the periods, the occurrence of white discharge, and changes that occur in our body and mind during adolescence. Initially, I didn’t know that menarche is the start of menses and menopause is when women seize to have menses. I finally understand and infer that education is extremely important and I’m thankful to Sanchetana for helping me grow as a human being too.

Ritaben Panabhai Parmar (Asha)

Ritaben Panabhai Parmar resides in Behrampura, Ahmedabad. Her family consists of her parents and brother. Her father is a labourer while the mother is a homemaker. Rita, who is 20 years old now got associated with the institution’s Adolescent Health Program in the year of 2013. She has recently passed her 12th grade. She got to know about the institution through a meeting held by women of her area. Later, she joined the institution and she was immediately permitted by her parents for the same. Rita says that she gets various health-related trainings for diseases like Anaemia, the differences between men and women in the society, menstruation cycle, colour, symbol, etc. All this information proved very helpful in her life. According to her, after receiving the reliable knowledge, she was able to share dialogue and make her family members and her community aware of the same. There are many false believes prevailing in the society which can be eradicated only through knowledge. Apart from these Rita also attended skill-development training of beauty parlour and henna through vocational training centres arranged by the institution. Now she uses it as a means of earning and becoming self-dependent. She was provided with a kit worth of Rs 500 from the institution. Apart from these, she was provided educational assistance that helped to complete her 12th standard. At present, she runs a health club at her home and gives training to 10 girls. She gives the entire credit for encouraging a positive change in her life to the institution and motivates as many girls as possible to join the institution.

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