Who Founded Samavesh Project?


Melanie lives in California, United States and has been involved with Gingham Project, a USA based 501(c)3 that works towards literacy in rural areas of India. Melanie is a photographer by profession, and has a talent for gaining access, trust, and assessing the need of people. Upon further involvement, it was decided that toilets were the first step in strengthening entire communities. The main goal of Samavesh project is to bring opportunity to the poorest communities, who are ready to embrace a secure future. Melanie can best receive messages in English or Spanish.

to email Melanie directly

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When is the Next Hands-Out Event?

Our first Hands-Out Event will be January 2015 

Would you like to host in your area? Contact us!

Here is a rough outline of themes we may use in 2015

(Please Note: The date listed is not an event date. It is a UN recognition date. Event dates will be set by the event organizers.)

January– Homeless/Street Child (Jan 31 Street Child Day)

February– Friendship (Feb 14 Valentines Day)

March– Women (Mar 8 Womens Day)

April– Environment (Apr 21 Earth Day)

May-Health (May 17 AIDS Awareness)

June– Elderly (Jun 15 Elderly Abuse)

July– Tolerance (Jul 18 Nelson Mandela Day)

August– Education and Literacy (Aug 8 World Literacy Day)

September– Hunger (Sept 29 World Coffee Day)

October– Hygiene (Oct 15 International Hand Washing Day)

November– Communication (Nov 21 Hello Day)

December– Gratitude (Dec 5 Volunteer Day for Social and Economic Development)


Why is Samavesh Project organizing Hands-Out Events?

We recognize that the most common need we see in the people we meet is to be included. It is all about involving and serving one another. All Hands-Out Events should reflect the spirit of Samavesh Project… the include others in the best opportunities life has to offer. Our Mission statement explains our desire;

Samavesh, means inclusive… we will include others into our world of health and happiness, by offering opportunity to the underprivileged. With our hands-out, we will lift others according to their need. We welcome participants of all gender, social, religious and financial status.”

What is a Hands-Out Event?

Literally, we want our hands-out to include others. Wether it be reading to a child or eating a meal with a lonely elder, we too will enjoy and grow from the opportunity. The event should cost little to no money. The event should be well organized and simple in nature so that more time is spent serving and doing, than in planning and follow-up.

When are Hands-Out Events?

Each month, we will have one day. The date is flexible. If you are hosting an event, please do it on a day that makes sense for your area. The important part is that the goal of inclusion and service is met.

Where are Hands-Out events held?

They are held wherever you are! Example; If you are in Oceanside, CA, you can organize an event there. If you are in Dhaka, Bangladesh, you can organize an event there. Depending on the event, it may be held in a public space (such as a school or park), a  private home or a business (such as a coffee shop).

Who Can Host? Who Will Attend?

Anyone can host…no experience needed! We will send you a PDF with all the details, plus we will be available to answer questions and encourage you along the way. The attendees are those you invite. Maybe its your family, roommates, even new people you’ve never met before!  The choice is yours. We can help you with this decision. As founders of Samavesh Project, we plan to attend your events when we can.

How Can I Be Involved?

Email us. Let us know you are interested in;

1-Hosting (easy! we’ll help you)

2- Attend (if there is an open event near you, we can tell you how to find them)

3- Help us Organize and Arrange Information, Create Invites, Forms, Creative Ideas, etc.

Also, we can be involved in all the events by posting to social media with specific hashtags, sharing photos, etc. Your information packet will include details for this.

Who Do We Serve?


Samavesh Project is a place where everyone is given an opportunity to be included. We serve those who are on the outside of society, asking to join in. When listening to the needs of people from a variety of backgrounds, we heard one common desire. People want to be included. People want to be useful. People want an opportunity to be a part of the world around them. Regardless of gender, religion, age or economic status, everyone we listened to has a societal concern they want to address. Environment, education, women’s rights, economic opportunity, plus many more worthwhile causes, have been brought to our attention.

One concern that we heard time and again in West Bengal, India was “we must help the girl child”. It is common to meet females with no education. Illiterate and unable to count money, they often grow up to repeat the cycle of poverty. DevkiOm, one of our partners, has focused on funding education for girls. Gingham Project, the other partner, has focused on literacy and the needs of underprivileged families. We have success in providing toilets and shelter for widows, and building tuition centers in rural villages.


With our past experience, we’ve learned that many girls stopped attending school around age 13. Looking into studies, reading articles, and conducting our own research by talking with girls, we found that once menses starts, many girls do not go to school. We talked with girls as young as age ten who told us that they don’t like going to school, as there is no where to defecate or attend to feminine hygiene in private.

Providing toilets for girls at schools sounded like a great place to focus our energy. As we talked to people and visited many localities, including inner city slums, refugee camps, rural areas and suburbs, the scope of the toilet need began to grow. We started to see toilets that had been built and abandoned. Toilets in use were not healthy. Foul smelling toilets polluted the air, the ground and the water around them. Children and adults were sick with diarrhea, which is often deadly in severely impoverished families. Women and girls will hold their bladders and bowels all day so that they can defecate under the cover of darkness. Water flush toilets required people to carry a heavy bucket of water, for quite a distance, in order to flush them. We started to see toilets as a huge problem.

Upon further investigation, we realized that toilets were important for many reasons beyond girls’ finishing school. We found that working to bring toilets to a population that currently has no access to a clean toilet, is profoundly important.

Here is what we would like you to know about the importance of toilets;


Environmentally, bio toilets will help clean India’s roads, sidewalks, parks, water supply and farmland. They take up only a couple square feet of land, use earth friendly chemicals to naturally break down fecal matter so it can safely drain into a flower garden, use little to no water and can be compatible with solar power, and are cleaned with earth friendly cleaners.


Education will improve in a variety of ways. One, girls will no longer feel ashamed to need to defecate, urinate or attend to feminine issues at school. Two, before assisting a locality to install toilets, we will educate the population on health and hygiene issues related to clean sanitation. Three, healthy kids will miss less school days.


Hygiene will improve, as people will have time and safety, space and light to appropriately finish cleaning themselves after using the toilet. Included in our education program is information about urinary tract health and hand washing.


Health will improve, especially in women, as they will not need to hold their bladders all day, waiting for the privacy of dark. With education and access to hand washing, we will see less of the common disease that is spread through fecal matter.


Economy will improve. Healthy people don’t miss work as often. When kids are healthy and in school, parents can go to work. Women who are physically comfortable will be more productive throughout the day. More work means more money. More money means more purchases in the local economy. We will also be hiring locals to teach about the toilets, and locals to maintain the toilets.


Safety, especially for women, will increase with the privacy of a closed toilet. Women risk their safety daily going into dark, hidden places to defecate/urinate.


Will toilets bring change? With access to clean, sanitary toilets, that they have helped in providing, people can be included in many of the basic rights we would like to share. This idea of being included in opportunities is the bottom line of what we heard people say they want. It’s what we want. We believe that through research, education, involvement and responsibility we can help people bring toilets to their own localities with great success. Our plan is sustainable socially, environmentally and financially.

So, next time you lower your “bottom line” near a loo, give a little smile and know that regardless of race, age, gender, nationality, language, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, etc. we for sure have something in common…

Mission Statement

Samavesh, means inclusive… we will include others into our world of health and happiness, by offering opportunity to the underprivileged. With our hands-out, we will lift others according to their need. We welcome participants of all gender, social, religious and financial status.

About Us

We are a group of people who are dedicated to including others in life’s best opportunities. Our main goal of bringing toilets to economically depressed areas is sustainable socially, environmentally and financially. We have many fun opportunities for anyone to be involved. We are a Trust/NGO in India and a 501(c)3 Charitable Organization in the United States.


Why Bio Toilets?

Why Bio-Toilets? Because we care about the environment, economy, health, hygiene, education, safety… We care about making sure EVERYONE has an opportunity to be included in healthy, happy and safe life.

Under the cover of darkness, girls and women quietly find a spot, where they hope they are hidden from view, to relieve their bowels. They wait all day, as it is indecent for a girl to go in the daylight, where others may see her.


Many communities in India have no access to toilets. In some communities, toilets have been built without proper drainage. Some drain into the community water supply or open sewage where children play, leaving foul smell and disease. Schools that do have toilets, often have filthy, broken facilities that are not in use. Many schools have no toilet at all.


With no toilet at school, girls who have reached puberty no longer attend school, as they cannot attend to their hygiene needs. With no toilet at home, girls risk rape when they walk away from the home to relieve themselves in the darkness.

A lack of sanitation costs the entire country. Health, Education, Economy and Environment are all impacted by improper sanitation for defecation. Diarrhea is still a top killer in India. People who are ill from disease spread by improper sanitation and hygiene regularly miss work and school. Streets, walkways, walls, beaches, parks and all other public areas in India struggle to be free of human waste.


Clean, safe, earth friendly sanitation will help solve many problems for struggling communities in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. We have gone into inner city slums, rural villages and struggling suburbs and talked with residents. We have watched and surveyed the areas. It’s not an easy task to bring a toilet to a community and have it be used, and used properly. The process will be slow. Education, from a trusted local is required. Community interest and responsibility must be proven. Understanding the reasons, and being ready to welcome a new tradition will take time. Toilets must be well maintained, and accessible to all, if they are to make an impact.


We are committed to help the communities that have shown interest in this positive change. There are local customs and concepts that must be respected. Our goal of bringing sanitation to improve the likelihood of education to girls will be a slow and steady process. As we grow, and stabilize, we will see our communities’ boast better health, stronger economies, cleaner environments, and educated women. Girls will no longer have to leave home in the dark to relieve their bowels… the will be included in the convenient, healthy world of women who have the privilege of privately relieving their bowels and attending to their feminine hygiene.



Looking for Tax Deductions before the year is up? Consider donating to families in need of basic sanitation. 100% of your donation goes towards stabilizing the future of India’s most disadvantaged families. Funds are used towards research, education, implementation and long term maintenance and support of toilet facilities. You can expect that over time, there will be improvement in environment, economy, health, education and safety in the communities we fund. 

Please read and share…

Dear Friend, 

We write to alert you of a charitable investment opportunity in the future of women and girls in India. So many organizations seek to improve the lives of marginalized groups in developing countries such as India. But, most do not follow two simple rules. The first rule is to properly research and determine the need and readiness of a community. The second rule is sustainability. Our non-profit, Samavesh Project, works with communities to secure a stable future by including locals in the entire process. By helping communities to resolve problems of basic sanitation, we create a system wherein all aspects of the community is strengthened.

Imagine living in a place where simple diarrhea can be a death sentence.This is the experience for many poor people living in India. Access to sanitation services is limited, expensive and inaccessible in large parts of the country. This deficiency contributes to the spread of infection and disease. For adolescent girls, the problem compounds itself when they begin regular menses. We realize that providing tuition for girls to get a much-needed education falls short when these students drop out, due to lack of access to functional toilet facilities. Women are less productive when they spend the day holding their bowels. Limiting the success of females is impairing the success of entire communities.

By creating opportunities for villages and towns to build effective bio-toilets and improve sanitation, we strengthen the efforts of multiple organizations seeking to advance the standard of living in this region. Environment, economy, health, education and safety will rise when people live hygienically. 

In order for assistance of this kind to succeed, it must be based in the reality that Indian families see on a daily basis. A solution that does not accommodate India’s chronic troubles with trash removal and access to clean water will not be sustainable. Our plan is different. In our years of experience working with some of the poorest people in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, we understand the serious health concerns plaguing the region. We understand and appreciate the cultural and societal mindset and how to provide sustainable solutions that both honor culture, and allow for progress.

We are confident that our project, which uses minimal energy, little space and no water, can be implemented to the betterment of the community. Our program starts with education and follows through with affordable funding, daily maintenance and continual support. Given our rapport with people in these cities, as well as our expertise in local government and assistance programs, we can count on the support of provincial officials and leaders.

Will you take a chance to invest in a healthy future for Indian families? All donations, made by cash, check or credit card, are fully tax-deductible in the U.S. and India. Tax information is provided upon receipt of donation.

Thank You for Your Consideration,

Melanie Smith, Founder




Samavesh Project donations are used to fund the betterment of people in need. Research, teaching, implementation and maintenance of of all our projects are carefully considered so that no funds are wasted. Part of our dedication to local economy is to hire from the areas we serve. We only use products that are produced in an ethical manner, and sold at a fair price.

Samavesh Project is a cooperative, combining the resources of DevkiOm (80g exemption certificate for charitable trusts and societies (NGOs) in India) and Gingham Project (a 501(c)3 tax exemption for USA non-profit charitable organizations). Your donations directly fund the goals of Samavesh Project.

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Your donation may be tax deductible, with use of the Thank You letter we will send in receipt of receiving your donation. Please consult your tax consultant regarding details.