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Lakshmi Ashram is a Gandhian Basic Education school for girls, as well as a center for the inspiration and practical training of rural community activists. It is also a base for voluntary work, and a place where women from rural areas can organize themselves to define and solve their own problems. The ashram is located in the North Indian Himalayan state UttaranchalMost of the women and girls at the ashram come from rural Hindu villages in Kumaon, although some come from the Garhwal Division of Uttarakhand. Some also come from Dalit (often referred to as “Harijan” or “Untouchable”) or Bhotiya (a minority ethnic group in the region) families, and many come from troubled backgrounds. Adult women at the ashram are sometimes widows, and some have left abusive marriages. Some women and girls have minor physical handicaps. For many women and girls, training at the ashram is their only means for achieving the self-confidence and self-reliance necessary to lead dignified adult lives

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