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Collection Overview

Veerni Sansthan
Veerni Project Records
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
3 boxes
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-3


The Veerni Project is a non-governmental organization based in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, which provides secondary education and boarding hostels for girls from rural villages in the Thar Desert region. The collection documents the organization's operations, including funding, programming, administration, outreach, and impact.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists of records of the Veerni Project, a non-governmental organization based in Rajasthan, India, which provides secondary education and boarding hostels for girls from rural villages in the Thar Desert to attend school in Jodhpur. This group of records was assembled by Veerni's founder, Jacqueline de Chollet. They document planning, funding, administration, programming, and operations of the Veerni Project from its inception in 1993 through 2019, including its early family planning and village-based education programs, the Veerni Institute's boarding hostel for girls since its opening in 2005, and associated projects such as the Meghwalon ki Dhanki literacy program and the Veerni Balika project. Records include annual, biennial, and project reports, funding and program proposals, brochures and publicity materials, documents and copies of letters telling the stories of women and girls who participated in Veerni's programs, village profiles, studies and reports on child marriage, literacy, and nutrition, as well as clippings of research and news articles, segments of television news stories, and short films about the Veerni Project.


Materials were arranged by the donor with the assistance of Sheila Coker Besson, and largely remain in their original order as received from the donor. Groupings of files created and named by the donor have been maintained.

Collection Creator Biography:

Veerni Sansthan

The Veerni Project is registered in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, as a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Veerni Sansthan. The organization's mission is to provide secondary education to girls from rural Indian communities, thereby creating viable socio-economic alternatives to child marriage and enabling women to make independent life choices.

Jacqueline de Chollet, a Swiss woman, founded the Veerni Project in 1993, with an initial objective of providing family planning, medical, and nutritional education programs for women living in rural villages in the Thar Desert. After building relationships with village communities throughout the 1990s, the Veerni Project piloted a tutor-based program for girls in 2000, shifting the organization's focus towards women's secondary education. In 2004, Veerni adopted a new educational model; rather than bringing tutors into villages, the project began funding village girls' attendance at private secondary schools in the city of Jodhpur and providing lodging in a nearby boarding hostel.

Since 2005, under the direction of Mahendra Sharma, the Veerni Institute has operated a boarding hostel in Jodhpur where 75-90 girls live at a time. In addition to attending classes, girls participate in academic tutoring, career counseling, health camps, and self defense training, as well as art, sewing, language, and computer classes, and are encouraged to consider pursuing a college education after graduation. A significant portion of Veerni's students at any time are already child brides. In exchange for the free lodging and tuition Veerni provides, their parents must sign a pledge promising to delay sending girls to their husbands until they have at least completed secondary school. Since 2012, Veerni has also run an after-school literacy program in Meghwalon ki Dhanki, a village where girls were struggling to pass entrance exams for the Veerni Institute. The Veerni Institute receives applications from more girls than it can accept each year, leading the organization to found a second boarding hostel in Jodhpur, called Veerni Balika, which opened in July 2019.

The Veerni Project is funded by family foundations and individuals in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including the Global Foundation for Humanity, Fondation Veerni, and the Association du Projet Veerni. Director Mahendra Sharma has led Veerni since 2005, and the organization has an all-Indian board and staff.

Collection History


Gift of Jacqueline de Chollet in May 2019 . The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2019.011.


No materials were separated from the collection during 2019 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in 2019. Materials were rehoused in archival folders and all materials were described in a finding aid, using an inventory provided by the donor. The born-digital materials in this collection have been processed according to Princeton University Library's Born-Digital Processing Workflows. For more information on the workflow, please read our full Born-Digital Processing Information Note.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains digital files, which may require specific software or hardware for access. Refer to our Tips on Accessing Born-Digital Content for information on how to render these file formats.

Requests to access digital material from this collection must be placed at least 2 days in advance. For more information please contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Credit this material:

Veerni Project Records; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345