Shramjivi Janata Sahayyak Mandal (SJSM) is a registered NGO working since 1977, for rural development & uplifting of socially and economically backward communities including SC, ST, NT, OBC residing in the remote, inaccessible areas of Western Maharashtra, Konkan and Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.The work was initiated in the backwater region of Koyna catchment area, in Patan block of Satara dist. in Maharashtra, where people were facing many problems like displacement caused due construction of Koyna Dam (1962), followed by the grave incidence of massive earthquake (1967), declaration of sanctuary (1980) & reserve Tiger Project (2012). The Koyna region lies in Western Ghats region. Due to hilly region the villages are far- flung and are totally cut off from the surrounding world where people were lacking the basic facilities of education, transportation, communication, health etc. The communities living in the area are mainly shepherds, cowherds and few are neo-buddhists with the traditional occupation of monsoon dependent agriculture, wage labour and cattle raring. The farmers are marginal and the lands are also fragmented due to hilly region. These fragmented lands are difficult for agricultural operations. The traditional crops cultivated are Rice (Oryza sativa L.), Ragi / finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.), Vari / fox millet (Panicum miliaceum L) and some vegetable crops grown at convenient locations. Due to lack of appropriate agriculture technologies the traditional agriculture practices are followed which result into the low production which is not sufficient even for their annual consumption. The remoteness of their habitat and peculiar pastoral lifestyle imposed a kind of social exclusion on them. The community was a victim of age-old superstitions, illiteracy and exploitation at the hands of traders and moneylenders. In all the communities were socially and economically backward.Hence, for the development of these rural poor people and to bring out them in the main stream of development Mr. Balasaheb Kolekar hailing from the Koyna valley founded Shramjivi Janata Sahayyak Mandal.
SJSM believes that the people should be the main focus of the development process. It aims at creating awareness among the people about their problems, building up self-confidence among the people through collective initiative to be able to solve their problems. This can best be achieved by building people's organization, which makes them capable of dealing with their own problems.
The organisation hence gives priority to an empowerment programme based on
* Awareness Building.* Training In Skill based development.* Creation of people’s organization (Co-operatives) based around economic initiatives, which can be run by the people themselves.