SNSF took its first steps in rural development with a focus on upliftment of women and girls. A partnership initiative of SNSF and Bechtel Foundation (2001-04), MBU was aimed at holistic village development by uplifting women and girls. Females from 389 households in Village Dharampur, Gurugram were impacted by this project which provided mobile health services supported by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI and NABARD’s micro-credit and rural entrepreneurship development training to women SHGs formed by SNSF. There were sessions on vocational training coupled with education on reproductive and sexual health for adolescents and youth, after school classes and introduction to organic farming. The Dharampur efforts had a cascading effect, with representatives from neighbouring villages of Daulatabad, Babupur and Mohammadpur inviting SNSF to work for their communities too. The contribution from Bechtel was eventually extended to benefit four village communities as against one, as community participation and ownership emerged in unexpected manner.
True measure of success in any endeavour to promote well-being of the underprivileged is when a beneficiary becomes a benefactor. This became a reality for SNSF, when in 2006, Mrs. Rajrani of village Daulatabad received the prestigious CII – Bharti Women Exemplar Award. Conferred upon by the then Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, it stood testimony to her work of over half a decade’s SNSF’s voluntary multi-purpose worker for her village under Project MBU. Whether it was encouraging fellow residents to access mobile health services or educating friends about the benefits of microfinance, Rajrani did it all with enthusiasm and a strong sense of responsibility. With the prize money from the Award, she provided textbooks to students of the village school and upgraded the cutting and tailoring centre with new machines. She continues to manage the SHG activity at the village level, promoting intra-group lending among 60-70 members.