The word "Veerni" captures the soul of this project. Veerni means "women of strength" or "heroine".
Veerni's mission is to educate and empower girls living in villages on the outskirts of Jodhpur so that they can lead healthy and fulfilling lives free from discrimination and all the socio-economic constraints that stem from it.
The Veerni project began its work in these villages providing basic health care assistance to those most in need. After the success of this initial support, Veerni opened its own institute in 2005. The institute was founded upon a strong sense of trust between our support groups and the families inhabiting these villages. Creating our own institute came as a natural and necessary progression considering the alarmingly low rates of rural girls engaging in a secondary education. The Veerni Institute manifested out of a desire to overcome these educational inequalities which were clearly limiting the opportunities on offer to rural girls and women.
Today the institute looks after as many as 75 girls the majority of whom without our support would be denied a secondary education and instead would be restricted to a life of servitude within the domestic sphere. The initiative's central ambition is therefore to ensure that these girls receive an uninterrupted secondary education and as such are better equipped to transcend gender discrimination to live independent, dignified lives.
In 1993, Ms. Jacqueline de Chollet founded the Veerni Project. The Global Foundation for Humanity was the principal funder at that time. Mrs. Anne Vincent joined the Veerni Projectsoon thereafter and later on established the The Association du Projet Veerni in Switzerland. The original objective of the Veerni Project was to provide medical, educational, nutritional and community development programs to assist the deprived villages of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India. The Veerni team of nurses, doctors and social workers worked in 36 different villages, establishing close relationships with the neighbouring populations.
In 2000, due to the demands of the village girls themselves, the Veerni Project started a village based secondary education program in six villages. Gradually through targeted awareness and confidence building to emphasize the importance of educating girls, the Veerni team was able to convince families to send their daughters to a boarding facility in Jodhpur. At this boarding facility their daughters would be safe, would attend a good school and could complete their schooling. The close ties the Veerni team had managed to establish over the years with the families in the villages led to the creation of the boarding facility called the Veerni Hostel/Institute.
The Veerni Project is registered in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, as a national NGO called “Veerni Sansthan”.
Since its inception the project has been funded by the Global Foundation for Humanity. In addition Veerni is funded by the Association du Projet Veerni based in Switzerland since 2011. The Veerni Project is being implemented by Veerni Sansthan based at Jodhpur.
The Project and the Hostel are run by local staff, whose costs are covered by the Veerni Project. The two founders, Jacqueline de Chollet and Anne Vincent, closely monitor and oversee the site and travel there twice a year. They cover their own travel costs.