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A hearty Namaskar and welcome to our news letter for March 2012.

What is flowering in Barkheda?
The SIMPLE trainees of course!! They have finally been allotted their individual plots of 1 acre. Here you see them proudly standing on Sunil’s plot……beaming with enthusiasm and a clear dream in their eyes of wanting to create something that this world has yet to see….check their body language and the confidence they exhibit.

 (from left: Rajaram, Bhopali, Sunil, Bhurra, Santosh)

Who has sponsored SIMPLE trainees?
We are so thankful to our Sreejan members Dr Vimarsh Raina(works with Medcity in Gurgaon) and Ravi Raina(works in Atlanta, US) for sending us Rs 60,000 each for the SIMPLE program. Each 60,000 takes care of monthly stipend, complete training, boarding and lodging cost of 1 SIMPLE trainee for one year. As was mentioned in our earlier reports, we are requesting each of you to sponsor one trainee so that the community can get started and by the end of 3 years we have at least 15 to 20 such energetic and successful micro farmers living in Barkheda and earning handsome returns from their 1 acre land and in return making the dream called ‘Sreejan’ a living reality on the ground.

We have repeatedly conveyed to these trainees that they are not begging but only asking for a support so that they can learn to stand on their own feet with their head high and with dignity. Who knows someday they may repay it back in cash or in kind!

Vimarsh and Ravi, let me assure you that you would be really proud of having made this investment in our young upcoming farmers. Very soon do expect a personal invite by the trainee you have sponsored and make sure you remain in touch with him, even paying him occasional visits to encourage him. Let there be a face to face interaction of the sponsor as well as the receiver. A very rewarding and enriching experience I can assure you.

Certification for SIMPLE?
I recently met Dr Salooja and his entire team at the School of Agriculture within Indira Gandhi National Open University. I explained to them the whole concept of Sreejan and more specifically wanted to know if our SIMPLE trainees could get an IGNOU certification at the end of 3 years. They were extremely encouraging and we are exploring the idea of opening an IGNOU study centre at Barkheda itself which can help our trainees as well as all the neighboring villages in getting connected to the world’s largest distance education university!

Who has recently joined Sreejan Community?
Please join me in welcoming 3 wonderful souls into our community. Rohit Dhar from Delhi, Prithwi Ghorpade from Pune and Arun Wakhlu from Pune again. Rohit practices as a chartered accountant and has promised me a very active participation on the ground….he believes in ‘being the change that we wish to see”. Prithwi(a post graduate from Purdue) chose to become a farmer about 17 years back. He has a 10 acre organic farm in Junnar near Pune and says he ‘felt’ and not ‘thought’ about this decision of joining Sreejan! Arun has yet to visit Barkheda but he says he has already visited many times in his dreams…..welcome all of you.

What are the major milestones achieved?
About 5000 ft of water Pipeline (3 “Dia) has been laid all the way between the big lake and our area of operation. We hope to have water all year round now delivered right at our farms thru this investment. It has costed us over 3 lacs but the investment is well worth it. It also would save us a lot of manual drudgery of moving pipes around to water our fields.

......Rajinder Raina (founder member)