Top 10 NGOs In India: A Few “Firsts” Among Many “Equals”

By Neeraj Ramchandran:

NGOs in India have always been accorded a status much lower than they actually deserve. Given the surprising number of NGO-related scams which are unearthed on an everyday basis, it is quite justifiable for the public to be cynical. But it would be really unfortunate if we fail to acknowledge the hard work put in by these agencies at the grassroot level to fill those gaps which the Government couldn’t. Although most NGOs are doing a great service to this nation, a few of them stand out from the crowd. Here’s the list of the top ten NGOs of our country.

1.Helpage India: Established way back in 1978, HelpAge India has been working nationwide for the cause and care of the elderly for quite some time now. HelpAge India has played a pioneering role in influencing policy change favouring the grey population. With India’s poor track record of treating old people, this organization has done a commendable job in providing the emotional and material support to the elderly when they need it the most.

2. Barefoot college: This NGO with a one-of-a-kind name founded by Bunker Roy is open only to individuals without formal education. Barefoot College makes use of the concept of peer-to-peer learning to train ‘barefoot professionals’ like teachers, doctors, mechanics etc. and has achieved participant coverage of an astounding 3 million people till date.

3.Aravind Eyecare System: With the aim of eradicating preventable blindness, Aravind Eyecare has developed a unique ‘assembly-line’ method to ensure high productivity and an innovative non-profit model that subsidizes treatment for the poor by utilizing the higher fees paid by its wealthier clientele .

4. Smile foundation: It was formed in 2002 to promote the cause of education amongst underprivileged children and has popularized the Social return on Investment (SROI) model by enabling civic driven change.

5. Goonj: Founded with the vision of making clothing a matter of concern, Goonj initiatives have made optimum use of waste materials and turned them into resource. It has also been listed by Forbes as India’s most powerful rural entrepreneur organization.

6. Planet read: With an innovative method of using Bollywood to promote literacy, Planet Read introduced the method of ‘Same Language Subtitling’ (SLS) — a practice of subtitling television programs in the same language as the audio track and applied it to the popular Bollywood music videos to reach millions of people.

7. Give India: This unique venture acts as an online and offline donation platform for more than 200 Indian NGOs which have been scrutinized for their transparency and credibility.

8. Gram Vikas: Setup with the aim of using sanitation as a tool to empower communities, its famous MANTRA approach has eliminated 85 percent of water-borne diseases in the participating villages and boosted attendance in schools considerably.

9. Pratham: Founded in 1994 with the aim of providing education to the children of the slums of Mumbai, Pratham has grown considerably in geographic coverage and size to become the largest NGO to be providing education to the underprivileged.

10. Udaan: This welfare organization took flight in March 2008 and has been working to empower the lives of destitute children, women and senior citizens. What started off as an informal educational setup is now a full-fledged school running in accordance with SSC curriculum.

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