Samagra Seva was established by a group of young persons hailing from the lowest socio-economic echelons of the society who had experienced the pangs of poverty, exploitations and atrocities in their childhood. The organization’s founding members Makeshwar, Rajesh, Kumud and Bhola Tanti come from poor families, and were themselves child labourers, working in a roadside ‘hotel’ when they were just 8-10 years old. Makeshwar served food to customers, and Rajesh worked as the masalchi (preparing spices). Two members from Parivar Sewa, a (Christian Children’s Fund (Child Fund India)) Child Fund India Partner, found them working there and helped them move out and enroll at Pariwar Sewa, Jamui to pursue education. Both boys did well at school and ended up with well-paying jobs when they were older. But this was not th e end of the story.
They started visiting distant parts of the district whenever they had free time, to understand the poverty of their own region. They felt that a major factor contributing to the poverty of marginalized communities was their lack of organization and unity. The absence of educational facilities made the situation worse. Makeshwar, Rajesh, Kumud, and Bhola started organizing meetings in Dalit clusters. They listened more and spoke less. This helped them understand people’s perceptions of poverty, its various dimensions, and possible ways out. These meetings gradually gained momentum and regularity. And that’s how Samagra Seva came into being in September, 1999. Two years after it, in September, 2001 it was registered with the I. G., Registration, Bihar, Patna under The Societies Registration Act, 21 of 1860.
The organization today has 11 board members, including Dalits, tribal, OBCs, and Muslims. They have a staff of 24, that also includes OBCs and STs. Inspired by the values learnt during their stay with the CCF project, the founders of Samagra Seva resolved in the very beginning to pursue their chosen path with honesty, integrity, transparency and equality and have been able to stick to it successfully. There is no hierarchy in the board or the staff; they believe in collective leadership.