SHAMA, Inc. A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization
Jagdish Chander
2460 Crescent Court, Plover WI 54467  (715) 341-1538
Lamp with flame

SHAMA, Inc. History

How it started  ||  Recent developments, 2000 - present  || Ongoing activities

How it started

In 1988 the "India Project" was created by the cooperative efforts of people from two organizations at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point--Women in Higher Education (Jyoti Chander, Lillian Spangenberg, Cindy Smith, and Isabelle Stelmahoske, to name a few) and students from the South Asia Society. They organized an Indian cultural festival to raise money to support their mission to help women in India. 

The Chanders met Ms Devila Mehta in Madison, WI in 1989. Ms. Mehta was from a middle-class family in Bombay. When her husband died, she was left totally on her own to provide for herself and her two sons. She got her degree with help from her school in Mumbai.  Then Ms Mehta took a full time assignment as a Hindi language professor at P N Doshi College and single-handedly educated her own children. They obtained their MBBS (medicine) degrees in Mumbai and later came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their medical residency. Her sons practice medicine in Illinois and Texas; she now lives in Dallas. The Chanders were so impressed with her story that they committed their work to support and sponsor P N Doshi College to the fullest extent possible. That support continues to this day.

Ms. Mehta's story shows that when you help a woman, you help the family. When you educate a woman, you educate the family. It also shows that the help we give in one place does not necessarily stay confined to that place. Ms. Mehta's story illustrates the global possibilities of the aid we provide in India. Her work at P N Doshi College allowed her to support her sons' education, and they in turn are now healing people in the United States. Who knows what someone we have helped will do in the future, and the effect that person will have on the world?

Help we give women in need holds the possibility of providing for needs anywhere in the world. Education helps everybody in the long run. This chain of possibility is the driving force behind SHAMA, Inc.

Recent developments (2000 to present)

2000 - 2001

In March 2000 SHAMA, Inc. incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt organization.


In 2001, SHAMA, Inc. instituted the Clothes for the Poor project in Wisconsin. Donated clothing and other items were collected and packed. With the help of Quakers in Oshkosh, the items were sent to India and Africa in October, 2002. Customs regulations made us unable to send some of the donated items abroad; these items were given to Operation Boot Strap of Stevens Point and the Dime and Dollar store, both of which are non-profit establishments.

The Yoga Studio held a yoga retreat at the Christine Center in the fall. An evening's entertainment included a talk and video made in India about SHAMA, Inc.'s work, an Indian classical dancer performed, and Indian crafts were offered for sale. All the proceeds were donated to SHAMA, Inc.

2002- 2003

Shama, Inc organized a retreat at Helen Beckman Camp Ground, Amherst, Wisconsin. The program included spiritual teachings, Indian food, spiritual gypsy dancing, a talk on SHAMA, Inc., a fire ceremony lakeside with Sanskrit chanting of shalokas, and a craft sale.

Harish Parameswaran visited the school in Mumbai and the the tribal village of Mhaskal, near Mumbai, in the Thane district. He sent a detailed report of his visit.

The following projects were initiated:

2003 - 2004

Jyoti Chander visited India at her own expense in the spring of 2004. She visited the schools in Mumbai where students are helped by SHAMA, Inc. and ShamaKids, homes in the slums of Mumbai where students live, the Swami Vivekananda Integrated Rural Health Centre (SVIRHC, Mhaskal village, and the villages in northern India in which the Gaddi Women's Self-Help Society works.

While in Mhaskal village, Mrs. Chander initiated and attended the first ever village meeting. Its aim was to give women a public voice in the development of their village. Toilets for women and a level ground for children to play on near their school were two important needs brought up. On behalf of SHAMA, Inc, Mrs. Chander gave bicycles to children who lived far away so they could attend school and loans to women for goats and water buffalo.

The following projects were initiated:

  • Work in Mhaskal village

  • Small, interest-free loans to students, allowing them to earn while they learn.

  • Provision of nutritious meals and snacks to students.

  • Women's reproductive health - achieved through nutritious food and training in prenatal and postnatal health care.

  • Support of the the Swami Vivekananda Integrated Rural Health Centre (SVIRHC), in Pavagada Taluk in the Tumkar district of Karnataka, in southern India. This hospital treats patients' eyes and cures people of leprosy and tuberculosis.

  • An AIDS awareness campaign.

2004-2005 Annual Report

2005 - 2006 Annual Report

2006 - 2007 Annual Report

A sum of  $7,000 was recently donated to SPN Doshi College in the name of Devila Mehta, with matching funds contributed by the Pfizer Foundation. This money is used to sponsor the Department of Post-graduate Studies and Research.  

Ongoing activities

The work with PN Doshi College continues to the present day. Over the years, SHAMA, Inc. has helped sponsor hundreds of students' education. In addition,  we have been able to assist in starting many programs through the school, such as an HIV/STD prevention program. (See a list of SHAMA, Inc.'s current programs.) Funds SHAMA, Inc. raises are handled in India by the SPRJ Kanyashala Trust.

SHAMA, Inc. organizes an annual cultural festival (The Festival of India); participates in other local cultural events; and delivers lectures, dinners, parties, celebrations of Indian festivals, and craft sales to bring the Indian culture to central Wisconsin. (See In Wisconsin) Most importantly, SHAMA, Inc. sends all the money it raises in the U.S. to various programs and projects in India.

Most of SHAMA, Inc.'s work in India is done through the SPRJ Kanyashala Trust. Money is not given directly to recipients; instead, the Trust disperses funds to fill the designated needs. Money from SHAMA, Inc. is faithfully distributed as SHAMA, Inc. requests.

Each new project in India, as listed below, is added to the list of ongoing activities. Some events in Wisconsin happened only once.

About SHAMA, Inc.

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Web design by Lynn Kirby, 2007